Exploring Mount Hiei & Enryaku-ji

A mountain for all seasons

By Lee Tan    - 2 min read

Mount Hiei lies to the northeast of Kyoto, straddling Kyoto and Shiga prefectures. The mountain is considered sacred, and at its summit lies Enryaruki-ji, a World Heritage Site where the Tendai sect of Buddhism was founded in 785. In classical Japanese writings, when writers referred to a mountain, it is usually Mount Hiei, the sacred Buddhist land.

There are several ways to get to the summit, including riding a cable car. On a cool and wet day, I decided to go on a hike following a path outlined in this story. The inclined path is more than an hour's walk up, and I passed moss-strewn stones and elegant Japanese cypress trees along the way. There was no one else on the path, except for one other lone hiker on his way down. The path took me to the back of the temple complex, where I then explored the sprawling area. In the persistent light rain, a mist had rolled in, partially obscuring the temples and shrines, adding to the ethereal experience of this serene place.

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Lee Tan

Lee Tan @lee.tan

Writer, photographer and traveller.