Guardian of the ancient city of Kyoto, one time home of ‘warrior monks’ who would raid the city and revered base of Tendai Buddhism, Mt Hiei is one of the most important spiritual mountains in all of Japan. If we had to pick our favourite guided walk, this would be it!
Travelling first by train from central Kyoto and then cable car through pretty cedar and maple forests, our walk begins at an elevation of 700m on the upper slopes of the mountain. As we make our way along beautiful old growth forest trails to the summit, we will keep an eye out for the area’s noisy inhabitants, the Japanese macaque and other wildlife. On a clear day, the views north to Lake Biwa and back to the city are breathtaking!
A short decent brings us to the first of Enryakuji’s World Heritage temples where we will learn about the area’s captivating history, unique spiritual practices and the role of the ‘marathon monks‘ who continue their 1,000 day physical quests for enlightenment to this day. This is also a great place to take lunch and options include delicious soba noodles from a restaurant whose origin dates back to the 18th century or Shojin Ryori, traditional Buddhist vegetarian cuisine unique to this part of Japan.
In the afternoon, we will continue our exploration of Enryakuji monastery to gain a deeper understanding of the key monks who once studied here and the influence they played in shaping both Japanese Buddhism and the country’s political landscape.
We finish by visiting some of the remote, quieter temples to the north, often which we may have all to ourselves, before making our way back to the cable car station and on to Kyoto.
* Please note – this tour operates from mid March until the end of November *
The above price is the guide fee for up to 5 people, not per person
The price does not include transportation or temple / garden fees for each guest and the guide – these are usually minimal
We will give you an accurate estimate of these costs and any customised options at the time of confirmation
Lunch is additional and we will happily recommend some options to suit tastes and dietary requirements
As this is a private walking tour, we can adjust the pace and length to suit but please let us know of any mobility issues
Please note our cancellation policy under ‘FAQs’ and we require all guests to have comprehensive travel insurance