Its our last day in Kyoto and we decided to explore more. This place was not in our itinerary but its so fun to just pick something that you never heard before. And we end up in Mount Hieizan (Shiga Prefecture). We took JR Kosei Line from Kyoto Station to Hieizan-Sakamoto Station for about 30 minutes.
Enryakuji Temple is located in Kyoto’s eastern mountain range on Mount Hieizan. In order to go up the mountain, you need to ride a monorail train or they call it as Sakamoto Cablecar (1620 yen for round trip) . From Hieizan-Sakamoto Station you can reach the cable car lower station by 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes bus ride.
You reach the top, you walk a bit and you will see the temple entrance. It cost us 700 yen for entrance to all three areas. Since we have a baby with us we didn’t managed to see all three areas but that’s fine we still had a great time!
It’s August when we visited Japan so imagine the heat in Kyoto was real. So going up Mount Hieizan was refreshing. The weather up there was nice and cooling and once you reached the upper station you can see the beautiful Lake Biwa .
One thing I love about this place was the forest! There’s huge trees up there and you will feel the forest. I’m a big fan of Shinrin-yoku or Forest bathing. Shinrin-yoku is popular in Japan as their way of healing. I believe that the forest as it’s way to heal us emotionally and physically. Well, for them here in Enryakuji Temple it’s also spiritually.
This place turned out to be one of the most important monetaries in Japan. This is also a headquarters for Tendai Sect of Japanese Buddhism. Needless to say we found ourselves exploring different historic temples and seeing some Buddhist worshipping or making some offering.
You don’t need to take the train if you don’t want to. It’s possible to hike up and down like these folks are doing. There’s also buses going up and down (doesnt operate on winter) and even cars.
Just a little tip for families bringing their young kids:
- Prepare ample amount of food and drinks as there very little choice of food up there.
- Do not bring you stroller as there’s a lot of stairs, baby carrier is a must!