Mt. Hiei trail and the temples designed to view the distant scenery of Mt. Hiei
Mt. Hiei (848m) is located between the east part of Kyoto Prefecture and the west part of Shiga Prefecture. It took about an hour and a half to Cable Hiei Station by public transportation from Kyoto Station. There are three stupa areas in Mt. Hiei called Hieizan Enryakuji Temple. A shuttle Bus is available once every half hour to visit the three areas or it takes about 90 minutes to hike, excluding sightseeing time.
You can enjoy seasonal nature here and feel how Buddhists endured hard training at Mt. Hiei.
The cable car takes 10 mins from Yase Hieizan Guchi Station to the Cable Hiei Station.
There are many temples designed with the distant scenery of Mt. Hiei as a backdrop. I picked three of them to go to.
Shodenji temple is near Kamigamo Jinja and is north of Kyoto. It was established in 1282 and it has a garden called Shishi-no-ko Watashi with Satsuki azalea “borrowing” Mt. Hiei scenery. I really like the long entrance walk from the first gate to the inside of the temple. It has an authentic and calm atmosphere.
Entsuji temple was built in 1639 and it has a much wider garden than Shodenji. You can enjoy Mt. Hiei from here too. Trees were planted in a linear manner, contrasted with arrangements of round stones.
Manshuin Mon Zeki originated with Saicho, a monk who started Mt. Hiei Enryakuji, and it was located here in 1656. Manshuin Mon Zeki is a little bit far away from the center of Kyoto city, but that’s how it could escape from the fires of wars and could keep valuable cultural assets.
From the inside of Hassouken tea room within Manshuin Mon Zeki, you can see the change of nature. When I visited there, the green was growing vividly. A guide explained that you could feel nature changing easily from this narrow space and could have sharper senses and greater body control. It costs an additional 10 dollars to get inside of Hassouken, but it is strongly recommended.
Every 20-30 years, Manshuin Mon Zeki needs to re-thatch the roof of its buildings. The guide positively said it was very rare to see traditional re-roofing construction. I liked her idea.