Aug. 21, 2020 UPDATE
Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple- 比叡山延暦寺 -
They have pamphlets in English, Chinese, and Korean. They also offer audio guides for ￥500.
Pamphlets and website in English and traditional Chinese.
Some simple English
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Story & Recommendation
The head temple of the Tendai sect! The mother mountain of Japanese Buddhism, Hieizan Enryaku-ji
Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple is on the 848 meter tall Mt. Hiei, and it’s the head temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. Saicho, a Buddhist monk, started a temple on this mountain in 788, so this temple boasts over 1200 years of history. This place is respected as the “mother mountain of Japanese Buddhism” where most of the founders of Japanese Buddhist sects have studied and practiced Buddhism before starting their own schools of it. It was also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. The area of the temple is vast at over 1,500 hectares. The temple is divided into three areas, To-do, Sai-to, and Yokawa, and you can traverse these areas by taking a shuttle bus (one-day ticket 1,000 yen with entrance to the temple, children 500 yen, Suica, Pasmo, and Icoca also accepted). Each of these areas has many things worth seeing, so if you have time, I recommend visiting them all. Saicho, the founder of Enryaku-ji, has left us a saying, “Brighten the world at your corner.” This saying means that each one of should do his or her best in their position and that each one of us should strive to be a nation’s treasure. You can see these words written in Japanese at many places in the temple, and they make you feel like you should do your best in the position you’re right now. If you visit Enryaku-ji, I hope that you will take note of Saicho’s words. Enryaku-ji Temple is in the mountains surrounded by quiet nature, and it’s a valuable place for learning more about Buddhism, so I hope you will all visit it.
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To-do area: March to November: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. December: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. January and February: 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sai-to and Yokawa areas: March to November: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. December: 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. January and February: 9:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m. *The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the closing time. *In winter the temple may close early because of snow. *Some places may not be entered if there are ceremonies taking place.
You can stay overnight at Enryakuji Kaikan. You can see Lake Biwa and the beautiful night view from the luxurious rooms and relax after a day of sightseeing around Enryaku-ji Temple. The food served here is Japanese Buddhist cuisine known as shojin ryori. Killing animals is forbidden in Buddhism, so the food here contains no meat or fish, nor does it contain onion or garlic as they have too strong a taste. The Buddhist way of eating is to be grateful for the food you get; to be grateful to the life you’re eating. The staff at Enryakuji Kaikan is very kind and attentive and thanks to this the customers rate the experience here highly. I recommend staying a night here. You can make a reservation from the link below: https://www.japanican.com/en/hotel/detail/6238002/
Open every day
【To-do、Sai-to and Yokawa areas】 Adult: ¥1000 Junior high and high school student：￥600 Elementary school student: ¥300