Temples Of Japan

Enryakuji Temple

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Sakamoto Cable Car
Sakamoto Cable Car to Mt. Hiei (Hieizan)

Enryakuji Temple is located on top of Mt. Hiei (Hieizan) in Shiga prefecture Japan.  There is no specific temple or stupa called Enryakuji in Mt. Hiei.  Hieizan itself represents Enryakuji, and the entire natural environment, all the temples, and all the people training here make up the overall temple establishment.  Since Dengyo Daishi Saicho established a simple hut on this mountain twelve hundred years ago, many great priests have been trained and educated in this environment.

Enryakuji temple precincts are similar to sacred precincts of Mt. Koya (Koyasan) and both Enryakuji and Koyasan are the two top sacred places of Buddhism in Japan.

This temple can be reached by taking a cable car from Sakamoto (Sakamoto cable car) in Shiga prefecture.  Take Keihan Railway Ishiyama Sakamoto line to go to Sakamoto train station.  From the train station you need to walk (pleasant walk, I should say) for about half hour to get to Sakamoto cable car station.  This is the closer path to get the Enryakuji temple precincts. 

You can also come from the Kyoto city side by taking the cable car to the top of Mt. Hiei from Yase-Hieizanguchi station.  But coming from Kyoto city side you may have to (you are on the west side of the mountain) either take a bus or by walk come all the way to the east side to see the temples.

Enryakuji Temple and other temples in it's precincts around Mt. Hiei (Hieizan) are designated as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
 Enryakuji Temple Seal  Enryakuji Temple Seal  Enryakuji Temple Seal
Multiple Temple Seals of Enryakuji

At the peak of it's popularity Enryakuji temple had more than three thousand buildings around Mt. Hiei and the surrounding valleys.  The temple also had it's own army. 

Most important temple in the Enryakuji Temple precincts (you can call it the Hondo) is called Konpon Chu-do.  It was established in 788 as Ichijo-shi Kan-in by the patriarch Dengyo Daishi.  The hidden Buddhist icon Yakushi Nyorai, is said to have been carved by Dengyo Daishi himself, is enshrined in the temple, and has been continuously illuminated since the establishment of the temple 1200 years ago.

Here is a video of the Enryakuji Temple precincts:

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