is a mountain to the northeast of Kyoto
city, lying on the border between the Kyoto
and Shiga prefectures
The temple of Enryaku-ji, the first Japanese outpost of Tendai sect of Buddhism, was founded atop Mt. Hiei by Saichō in 788. The temple complex was razed by Oda Nobunaga in 1571 to quell the rising power of the Tendai's warrior monks (sōhei), but it was rebuilt and remains the Tendai headquarters to this day.
Mount Hiei in Folklore
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Mount Hiei has featured in many folk tales over the ages. Originally it was thought to be the home of gods and demons of Shinto lore, although it is predominantly known for the Buddhist monks that come from the temple of Enryaku-ji.
wrote the book "The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei," chronicling the practice of walking long distances (up to 52 miles) in a single day to attain enlightenment in the monk's current life.
While the mountain is a popular area for hikers
, a toll road provides an easier access by automobile to the top of the mountain. There are also two routes of funiculars
: the Eizan Cable
from the Kyoto side to the connecting point with an aerial tramway to the top and the Sakamoto Cable
from the Shiga side to the foot of Enryaku-ji.
- John Stevens, "The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei." Boston: Shambala, 1988 ISBN 0-87773-415-1