In the 1200 years of history, Enryakuji temple was the place for ascetic practices. Monks weren’t allowed to get out of the mountain for three years. They had to endure the training of not lying down for 90 days straight, or had to keep meditating. Because of the famous training, the temple had produced great monks in the history. Nowadays people come visit this temple to see the trace of the history and to seek for what monks saw and felt in the past.
About Enryakuji Temple
Enryakuji temple lies on the Mt. Hiei, a 848.1 m (2,782 ft) tall mountain located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. It was built in 788 as a headquarter of the Tendai Denomination. The temple consists of about 150 halls and towers scattered in 500 ht area of the mountain. They are located either in these three areas: Tō-dō (東塔, “East Pagoda”), Sai-tō (西塔, “West Pagoda”), and Yokawa (横川). Since 10th century, a number of great monks in the history practiced asceticism in this temple. As the great history and the culture were appreciated, it was registered as the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” in 1994.
Address: 4220 Sakamotohonmachi, Otsu, Shiga Prefecture 520-0116, Japan (Google Maps)
Official Website: http://www.hieizan.or.jp/_att/english.pdf
How to get there
The most convenient way to get to the temple from Kyoto city is by bus. You can take the Hiei-Heisen Line 57 from a but stop at Kyoto Station. The trip will be around an hour, stopping at several stations on the way, and it costs ¥770 to the Enryakuji Bus Center Station, where you can find the entrance to the temple. The bus also stops at Sanjo-Keihan station and Ginkakuji-michi Station (Ginkakuji temple), so you can take a bus from your nearest bus stop. On your way to the temple, you can enjoy the view of the Biwa Lake, the biggest lake in Japan. For more information, please visit here.
How to get around
You will need to take the Hiei-sannai Shuttle Bus in order to move among three areas of the temple – Tō-dō (東塔, “East Pagoda”), Sai-tō (西塔, “West Pagoda”), and Yokawa (横川) – and the summit of the Mt. Hiei. The 1 day free pass costs ¥800 (Adults) and ¥400 (Children).