Enryaku-ji Temple stands on this sacred mountain, Mt. Hiei. A spectacular view over Kansai is offered to visitors.
Hiei-zan is a generic name for a south-to-north chain of mountains lying over Sakyo-ku, Kyoto and Otsu, Shiga, with Mt. Shimei-ga-dake and Mt. Ohiei in the middle. There stands Enryaku-ji Temple, head temple of the Tendai-shu sect, opened in 788 by Saicho who founded the sect. The temple area is dotted with more than 100 buildings and towers, including the Konpon-chudo, a national treasure, a large lecture hall, and Shaka-do, all shaded by a forest of old Japanese cedar trees. Because the mountains have been regarded as a Buddhist sacred place, where destruction of animal life is forbidden, now you can see a variety of birds there.
The Konpon-chudo is the main sanctuary of Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji Temple, listed as World Cultural Heritage, in which ever-lasting lights of Buddhism have burned continually ever since the foundation of the temple. They light the image of Yakushi-nyorai to whom the temple is sacred. You can experience a taste of monks' discipline in Kojirin, a practice hall.
From around the top of Hiei-zan, you can enjoy a panoramic view not only of the Lake Biwa and Kyoto, but also that of Suzuka and Tanba Mountains.
[Rail] 2h 15 min to Kyoto Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and then take JR Tokaido Line to Yamashina. 35 min from Yamashina to Sakamoto Station by Keihan Line.
[Rail] 35 min to Yamashina Station by JR Tokaido Line (special rapid service).