Located in Kyoto's eastern mountain range on Mount Hieizan (öńëbÄR), Enryakuji (ëäŚ´ÄŤ) is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many influential monks studied at Enryakuji, including the founders of a number of later sects, such as the Pure Land (Jodo), Zen and Nichiren sects.
Enryakuji was founded in 788 by Saicho, the monk who introduced Tendai Buddhism from China into Japan. At its peak, Enryakuji had as many as 3000 subtemples and a powerful army of warrior monks who often engaged in power struggles with other monasteries and political leaders.
On his way to remove all potential rivals and unite the country, Oda Nobunaga attacked and destroyed most of Enryakuji's buildings and killed most of its inhabitants in 1571. Therefore, most of today's temple buildings date back to the early Edo Period, when Enryakuji was rebuilt.
Enryakuji's attractions are concentrated in three areas: Todo (east area), Saito (west area) and Yokawa. The main area is the Todo area, where the monastry was originally founded and where most of the main buildings are located, including the Main Hall (Kompon Chudo) and the Amida Hall, which was added to the complex in 1937.
A pleasant walking trail through the forest connects the Todo with the Saito area, which includes the mausoleum of the temple's founder Saicho and the Shaka Hall, the oldest building on the mountain. Not far away stands the Ninai Hall, two halls connected to each other by a central corridor. A monk named Benkei, known for his legendary strength, is said to once have carried the hall on his shoulders.
The Yokawa area, is located several kilometers north of the other two areas and is visited by fewer people. Its main building, the Yokawa Central Hall, is partially built on a slope using pillars.
Enryakuji is located on Mount Hieizan, which lies on the border of Kyoto Prefecture and Shiga Prefecture. The mountain can be ascended from either the Kyoto side by Eizan Cablecar and ropeway, or from the Shiga side by Sakamoto Cablecar. There is also a toll road that leads up to the temple, which is used by buses from central Kyoto.
By Sakamoto Cablecar (around the year)
Take the JR Kosei Line from Kyoto Station to Hieizan-Sakamoto Station (15 minutes, 330 yen one way), from where it is a 15 minute walk or 5 minute bus ride to the lower station of the Sakamoto Cablecar. The cablecar ride takes 11 minutes and costs 870 yen one way or 1660 yen for a round trip. From the upper station, Hieizan's Todo area can be reached in a 5-10 minute walk.
By bus (does not operate in winter)
There are direct buses from Kyoto Station and Keihan Sanjo Station to Hieizan's Todo area. The one way trip takes about one hour and costs 790 yen. There are 4-6 buses per day, except from December through mid March when no buses run.
By Eizan Cablecar and Ropeway (does not operate in winter)
Take the Eizan Main Line from Demachi-yanagi Station in northeastern Kyoto to Yase-Hieizan-guchi Station (15 minutes, 270 yen). From there, take the Eizan Cablecar and Eizan Ropeway to the summit of Hieizan (15-20 minutes, 900 yen one way, 1800 yen round trip). From the summit, it is another 5 minute bus ride or 30 minute walk to the Todo area. The cable car and ropeway do not operate from early December to mid March.
The Todo and Saito areas are connected with each other by a pleasant walking trail (about 20 minutes one way) through the forest.
Shuttle buses operate between the upper station of the Eizan Ropeway (at the mountain's summit), the upper station of the Sakamoto Cablecar, the Todo area, the Saito area and the Yokawa area about every 60 minutes on weekdays and about every 30 minutes on weekends. There are no buses from December to mid March.
Bus fares depend on the distance traveled. The one way trip from the Todo to the Yokawa area, for example, takes 15 minutes and costs 650 yen. A one day pass for unlimited use of the shuttle bus on one calendar day is available for 1000 yen.
9:00 to 16:00 (December)
9:00 to 16:30 (January and February)
Saito and Yokawa areas open 30 minutes later and close 30 minutes earlier
Guesthouse EngawaGuesthouse Engawa offers accommodation in Kyoto. Guests can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of Kyoto in their rooms. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, and an electric kettle will be provided upon request. Bathroom facilities are shared with other guests. Free toiletries and hairdryers are also available. There is luggage storage space at the property. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 600 metres from Guesthouse Engawa, while Heian Shrine is 2.4 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.View on Booking.com
Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASSLocated in Kyoto, this traditional Japanese guest house features free Wi-Fi and a free public computer. Shichijo Onmae bus stop is 3 minutesüf walk away. A seating area and shared bathroom are provided with each room at Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS. Free toiletries are provided and blankets are available upon request. Select rooms have a garden view. A shared living area and bicycles are available for guestsüf use during their stay at this Kyoto Guesthouse Compass. Access to the shared kitchen is available upon request. The guest house is 4.5 km from Imperial Palace and 2.2 km from Kyoto Station. Nijo Castle and Toji Castle are within a 30 minutesüf bus ride away.View on Booking.com
Ryokan Mugen (Adult Only)Mugen is a property that was built 160 years ago, situated in Kyoto, 1 km from Nijo Castle. Every room at Mugen features an en suite shower room, toilet, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Free WiFi is available throughout the entire property. You will find a shared lounge on site and a bar at the annex building. The ryokan also offers bike hire. Imperial Palace is 1.1 km from Mugen, while Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is 1.6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.View on Booking.com
Gallery Nozawa InnGallery Nozawa Inn offers accommodation in Kyoto, 25 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Every room includes a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. Each room is equipped with a private toilet, and bathrooms are shared. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. Guests can sample Japanese-style breakfast featuring seasonal ingredients. There is a public bathhouse located a 10-minute walk away. Nijo Castle is 2.4 km from Gallery Nozawa Inn, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.4 km from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 36 km away.View on Booking.com
Guesthouse tu casaAttractively located in the Higashiyama Ward district of Kyoto, Guesthouse tu casa is situated 1.2 km from Sanjusangen-do Temple, 1.4 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple and 1.9 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The guest house has family rooms. At the guest house rooms are equipped with a shared bathroom. Samurai Kembu Kyoto is 2.2 km from Guesthouse tu casa, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Mitsuki KyotoSet in Kyoto, within 600 metres of Kyoto International Manga Museum and 1.7 km of Nijo Castle, Mitsuki Kyoto offers accommodation with a garden and free WiFi throughout the property. The property is located 2.1 km from Kyoto Imperial Palace, 2.3 km from Heian Shrine and 2.3 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The accommodation provides a concierge service, ticket service and luggage storage for guests. At the ryokan every room has a private bathroom. An Asian breakfast is available every morning at Mitsuki Kyoto. Guests at the accommodation will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kyoto, like cycling. Shoren-in Temple is 3.2 km from Mitsuki Kyoto, while TKP Garden City Kyoto is 3.4 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 39 km from the ryokan.View on Booking.com
Guest House OumiWell set in Kyoto, Guest House Oumi provides air-conditioned rooms, a shared lounge, free WiFi and a garden. Featuring family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation offers a shared kitchen and room service for guests. At the guest house every room comes with a shared bathroom with free toiletries. A continental breakfast is available daily at guesthouseoumi. Nijo Castle is less than 1 km from the accommodation, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.2 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 37 km from Guest House Oumi.View on Booking.com
Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel GrandereverieIdeally situated in the Shimogyo Ward district of Kyoto, Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandereverie is situated 1.3 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, 1.9 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto and 2.3 km from TKP Garden City Kyoto. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace. The accommodation features a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and luggage storage for guests. All rooms are fitted with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a wardrobe. Featuring a private bathroom with a shower and free toiletries, rooms at the hotel also feature free WiFi. Shoren-in Temple is 2.7 km from Kyoto Shijo Takakura Hotel Grandere, while Nijo Castle is 2.8 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
IMAYA Hostel KyotoAttractively situated in the centre of Kyoto, IMAYA Hostel Kyoto features air-conditioned rooms, a bar, free WiFi and a shared lounge. The property is around less than 1 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum, a 16-minute walk from Nijo Castle and 2.4 km from Samurai Kembu Kyoto. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen, a concierge service and ticket service for guests. The rooms at the hostel are fitted with a flat-screen TV and a kitchenette. The shared bathroom is fitted with a bidet, a hairdryer and free toiletries. All guest rooms will provide guests with a microwave. Kyoto Imperial Palace is 2.9 km from IMAYA Hostel Kyoto, while Heian Shrine is 3.1 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Ryokan ToriRyokan Tori is located in Kyoto, 2 km from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The property is around 2.3 km from Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. The property is 3.2 km from Kinkaku-ji Temple and 3.7 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. All guest rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a kettle. Each room has a shared bathroom, while selected rooms are fitted with a balcony and others also offer a garden view. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at tori can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Heian Shrine is 5 km from the accommodation. Itami Airport is 50 km from the property.View on Booking.com