Kyoto Markets – Ultimate guide to the Best 2 not to be missed

Kyoto Markets – Ultimate guide to the Best 2 not to be missed

Kyoto Markets

Kyoto Markets are a nice addition to an itinerary of temples, shrines and gardens which should not be missed. There are, typically undated information on the best flea markets in Japan, so, here, I have just listed two which are Kyoto’s MUST GO! Must SEE! and A Must BUY! experience. These are Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple and Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine.

1 | Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple, Kyoto Markets

You will find one of the popular Kyoto Markets on 21st of each month. This popular one is called Kobo-san flea market which is at one of Kyoto’s most historic of temples, the To-ji Temple (East Temple). Toji Temple is also a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a five-storey pagoda, 57 metres high (187 feet), which was founded in 796 but due to lightning strike, was rebuilt in the Edo period by Tokugawa Iemitsu (1600).

Kobo-san, one of two Kyoto Markets
Kobo-san, one of two Unmissable Kyoto Markets

The market is called ‘Kobo-san’ to honour the Buddhist priest, Kukai, who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan and founded the temple in 796. After his death on 21st March 835, he was honoured with “Kobo-Daishi” title.

1.1 | A bustling Kyoto Market from dawn to dusk

On this one-day each month, the Temple itself becomes a secondary stage. The grounds of the Temple, turns into an enormous and liveliest market area, bustling with tourists and locals in search of antiques and good bargains. There is an incredible variety here and you can find pretty much anything that you might be looking for. The market opens at sunrise and as the sun begins to set, you will note the stalls start to pack-up and prices fall to a dramatic low!

1.2 | Kimonos are a bargain at Kobo-san Market, Kyoto

There are over 1000 stalls where you can find beautiful vintage and cultural products such as second-hand kimonos, shoes, hats, hand-fans, ceramics, chopsticks, books and prints. I bought a few kimonos for 500 Yen each, not just for use but to use the fabric for other creative ideas such as handbags or purses. These kimonos are exquisite vintage fabric and can be used to create modern garments. Modern garments with an exquisite vintage fabric would be lovely, I think. Would you agree?

These kimonos were of top quality fabric and was well worth the money! There were some for even 300 Yen! Just keep looking and you will find the stall 😊.

This is also one of the very few markets where you can negotiate and bargain over the products.

Beautiful handmade second-hand silk kimonos at a bargain at the Kobo-san market
Kyoto Markets: Beautiful handmade second-hand silk kimonos at a bargain at the Kobo-san market
A bustling Kobo-san Market that offer a great choice in antiques, vintage garments and street food.
A bustling Kobo-san Market that offer a great choice in antiques, vintage garments and street food.
One of Kyoto Markets is Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple.
One of Kyoto Markets is Kobo-san flea market at Toji Temple., a bustling market from dawn to dusk.
Explore the grounds of Kobo-san Market while shopping and visit the Toji Temple.
Kyoto Markets: Explore the grounds of Kobo-san Market while shopping and visit the Toji Temple.

1.3 | Street food at Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Markets

The Kobo-san flea market is not just about bargain-hunting. It is also a great opportunity to experience the variety of Japanese street food on offer here, from yakitori (grilled meat on skewers), takoyaki or the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki.

Okonomiyaki

If you are feel like having something substantial, you could try the okonomiyaki. It is a Japanese-style savoury pancake, topped with layers of cabbage, meat, noodles and a choice of octopus or fish, with lots of okonomiyaki sauce (a combination of ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, sugar or honey).

You can view the post on Hiroshima style Okonomiyaki on a previous blog I wrote:

Hiroshima’s Soul Food – Okonomiyaki and Oysters

Takoyaki

Takoyaki is a popular Japanese snack. It is ball-shaped, made of wheat flour batter and cooked in special moulded pan.

These dough balls are filled with pieces of octopus, pickled ginger and onions but you can hardly taste the ginger or the onions. It is topped with takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce) and Japanese mayonnaise, sprinkled with aonori or green laver (an edible green seaweed) and sometimes, shavings of dried bonito.

I must admit that takoyaki is not one of my favourite of Japanese food. People differ in taste, therefore I suggest that you try it at least once!

Takoyaki mould
The wheat batter is poured into one of these takoyaki mouls and then the octopus or fish is added into it.

1.4 | Travel tips and Useful information on Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Give yourself plenty of time to explore.

Give yourself plenty of time to explore. You can easily get lost here, amongst the huge crowd. The enormous market area is like a maze and on occasions navigating around the stalls and re-tracing your steps may be a little challenging. So, give yourself plenty of time to get lost here and experience the authentic market atmosphere.

Mornings are best for choices

Mornings are best if you want choices and are looking for specific items such as antiques or silk kimonos. If you are looking for a bargain, after 3 pm would be best as the sellers will reduce the prices to get rid of their stock. I visited the market at about 10:00 and it was already beginning to pick-up the crowd but was still pleasant. However, by midday, it was really crowded and queues were building up around the food stalls.

Tip: If you are looking for a bargain, try after 3 pm where sellers reduce their prices to at least half so they can reduce their stock.

1.5 | Getting to Kobo-san Market

Kobo-san Market is within the grounds of Toji Temple. Toji Temple is situated in Minami-ku, There are couple of ways to get here.

i) Kobo-san Market is easily accessible via the modern Kyoto Station, a 15-minute walk southwest through the Omiya and Kujo Street intersection. Be warned, this walk is not really that interesting as there is not much to see except busy streets amidst heavy traffic. 15-minutes is quite a long walk, if you think about it.

If you don’t fancy the walk, the nearest station, which I used, is the Toji Station.

Toji Station is on the Kintetsu Kyoto Line. It takes about 5-minutes to reach Toji Temple/Kobo-san Market. You can see the pagoda from the street outside the Toji Station.

1.6 | Access

Entry to the market and the grounds are free but there is a small charge if you are planning on visiting the pagoda and the surrounding buildings.

1.7 | Conclusion on Kobo-san Market, Kyoto Market

Despite the crowd, Kobo-san Market is a place for antiques, trinkets and good value kimonos. There are other selections of traditional garments and hand woven pieces of material which you can purchase too. In addition, there are a great selection of street food for you to taste. For an authentic Japanese traditional market, I would recommend that you visit the Kobo-san market.

My second of  the two Kyoto Markets which you should not miss is the Tenjin-san Market at the Kitano Tenmangu-Shrine.

2. Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto Markets

The Tenjin-san market at the Kitano Tenmangu-shrine is held on 25th of each month. There are well over 1000 stalls, in and around the shrine. There are rare ornaments, silk kimonos and yukatas for a bargain, plants, pottery and antiques.

There is a huge selection of street food stalls for every taste-bud! The aroma of the yakisoba just draws you…which is mouth-wateringly delicious, cooked right in front of you.

The market is open from the break of dawn till late, 9 pm, but has early closing hours in the winter.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto_7
The Tenjin-san Market on 25th of each month.

2.1 | Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto

The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built in 947 AD in honour of Sugawara no Michizane, who was unfairly exiled by the political rivals of his time. He was a scholar and a politician during 794 AD to 1185 AD which represents the middle Heian period.

Sugawara no Michizane

Sugawara no Michizane was incredibly talented. He read poems at the age of 5 and wrote Chinese poems at the age of 11. Shrines were built to appease him, and he became known as the “god of academics.” He led the popular “Tenjin faith” throughout Japan. The Kitano Tenmangu is the main shrine and the origin of the faith, and there are 12,000 shrines that are dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane.

The Kitano Tenmangu shrine is popular amongst students during exam time and during school trips.

2.2 | Tenjin-San Market, Kyoto Markets

What makes this flea market unique and will be well-worth your visit is the mixture of stalls within the traditional shrine setting. The grounds are large and there are many buildings such as the main shrine which is situated behind the worship hall (this is where the deity is enshrined). The worship hall is connected by the Ishi-no-Ma-Hall which one can visit.

In addition, there are the Sanko-mon Gate and the Ro-mon Gate. So, when you get tired of the bustling crowd and need some space and quiet, you can just wander off to the calmness of the shrine and the gardens, or to enjoy your meal.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine, Kyoto
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is home to beautiful buildings that has architecture going back centuries. It is decorated with hanging lanterns of various colours that just grabs your attention every now and again as you walk through the grounds.
Wander around the grounds of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine while shopping.
Kyoto Markets: Wander around the grounds of Kitano Tenmangu Shrine while shopping
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a popular destination for students.
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine is a popular destination for students.
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine - Students studying the Shinto faith are preparing for some activities.
Kyoto Markets: Kitano Tenmangu Shrine – Students studying the Shinto faith are preparing for some activities.
Kyoto Markets: Tenjin-san market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

Tenjin-san market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine sits within a large beautifully landscaped gardens. It is peaceful, quiet – an area of total zen from the bustling crowds just a few hundred feet away.

2.3 | Travel tips and Useful information on Tenjin-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Getting to The Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine

The Tenjin-san Market at Kitano Tenmangu shrine can be accessed directly by Kyoto City Bus numbers 50 and 101 from Kyoto Station. It is about 30 minutes ride and costs 230 Yen.

There is a quicker route – take the Karasuma Subway Line to Imadegawa Station and then take the bus number 102 or 203.

In either case, get off at the Kitano Tenmangumae bus-stop.

Admission is Free.

2.4 | My Conclusion on Tenjin-san Market, Kyoto Markets

Tenjin-san Market is a popular market visited by both tourists and local, especially by students as they pray for wisdom and academic success in observing the Tenjin faith.

I was pleasantly surprised when I visited here. The architectural design was exceptional and the many lanterns just caught my attention. In addition, I watched a show performed by the students of the Shinto faith who sang and danced depicting an ancient story. Unfortunately, I did not understand the story and photography was not allowed. I enjoyed it and it was Free.

If you are considering a visit to a market with a difference, then visit Tenjin-san market, where you will not only what the market offers but also architectural delight and a closer look at Shinto practices.

3 | Ways to experience the cultural city of Kyoto.

If you are looking for some ideas on places to visit, Get Your Guide has some excellent value for money tours. Please click on the link below and have a browse. These ideas can help you plan your next visit to Japan.

Take a look at suggestions in More than one way to Experience the Cultural City of Kyoto

Is this post valuable to you in planning your visits to Kyoto markets? If so, please let me know in comments below or via Contact Form, I would love to hear from you.

Happy adventures!

January 2021, Update.


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Ultimate guide to the best two flea markets in Kyoto, Japan
Two Kyoto Markets not to be missed
An authentic experience of Kyoto Markets.

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Mount Hiei – A fascinating Japan experience not to be missed

Mount Hiei | A fascinating Japan experience not to be missed

Explore the mountains where humans become superhumans,

and be amazed with the indescribable natural beauty and serenity that exists

among the towering cedar trees here.

Georgina

Mount Hiei – The holy mountain in Kyoto

Mount Hiei, regarded as the holy mountain in Kyoto makes a nice little escape from the maddening crowds of other Kyoto’s main attraction. What makes this destination fascinating is the quietness and peacefulness that exists here that transports you to a totally different world of complete zen! All of it within only a stone’s throw away from the chaos of the city below. This is a mountain where history and modernity meets in relation to Japanese culture and religion. A sacred mountain believed to turn ordinary humans in pursuit of enlightenment to super beings for their endurance and perseverance. A truly fascinating Japan experience not to be missed when visiting Kyoto.

As for me, walking in the dense forest of towering cedar trees, somehow made me feel good. I was totally amazed with the unspoiled natural beauty and serenity that exists here which is indescribable. There were moments when I was the only one among the trees. Navigation around the footpaths were convenient and pleasant. The area is well tended and has clear footpaths leading to various buildings in the mountain.

The path leading to Todo tells the story of Buddhism and its leaders
The path leading to Todo tells the story of Buddhism and its leaders | Image: georgina_daniel
Mount Hiei and the temples around the mountain.
Mount Hiei and the temples around the mountain. There are several with walking/hiking routes which one could follow easily | Image: georgina_daniel

Why is Mt Hiei known as Sacred Mountain

Mount Hiei is popularly known as a sacred mountain because it is home to the “Marathon Monks” often regarded as “super humans”. These super human “Marathon Monks” uphold centuries old traditions – they preserve, observe and practise them today and in many ways as exactly as was practised many centuries ago. This mountain is one of the few places in Japan where tradition and history exists alongside a modern world.

I have uploaded a short video below for you to watch to get an idea of why the monks of Mount Hiei are called “Marathon Monks”

Besides being popularly known as a sacred mountain and the infamous “marathon monks” associated to this mountain, there are many other reasons why you should visit this beautiful part of Kyoto. I have listed a few, about 6 of them here:

1 | Mount Hiei is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site

The whole of Mount Hiei is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the banner of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”. The mountain is home to Enryakuji Temple where the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism was founded in 788. It was once, home to the “warrior monks” – currently home to the “marathon monks.”

2 | The rich history of Mount Hiei

The temples in Mount Hiei were the guardians of ancient Kyoto. One of the most important monasteries in Japanese history was established here over 1200 years ago.

The Enryakuji Temple, the heart of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism was founded here in 788 by Saicho.

Saicho was a monk from China. He introduced the Tendai sect Buddhism in Japan and established the headquarters in the mountains of Hiei. The mountain became the holy mountain with 3,000 scattered temples and thousands of monks. In Japan’s history, Enryakuji was the home to the “warrior monks” who raided and terrified Kyoto City.

In order to remove all rivals and to unite the country, Shogun Nobunaga defeated these warrior monks and burned the Enryakuji complex down in 1571. The Enryakuji Temple was thereafter rebuilt during the Edo period and became the headquarters of the Tendai sect and remains as such till today.

3 | The “Marathon Monks” of Mount Hiei

Although the warrior monks are long gone, legend has it that Mount Hiei became home to another breed of monks called, the “marathon monks” who continue to remain here till today. “Marathon monks” are called as such because they are regarded as “super humans” to have to undergo a challenge known as “sennichi kaihogyo” – a “one-thousand day go around the peaks training” in search of enlightenment in the here and now.

3.1 | The One-thousand-day Challenge

The monks who set out on these one-thousand-day challenge will occasionally complete  it. The one-thousand-day challenge is a seven-year training period.

Initially, the Buddhist spiritual athlete or “gyoja” will begin a 100-day stretch of training period and the “gyoja” must cover 52.5 miles daily. During this 100-day training, the “gyoja” must decide whether he wants to take on the challenge of the remaining 900 days. To complete the challenge will be a test of his endurance, perseverance and both physical and mental strength because of his death-defying fasts, his vegetarian training diet and his handmade straw running shoes.

The “gyoja” dresses in pure white kimono and carries with him a sheathed knife. According to the Tendai Buddhist tradition, if he does not complete his prescribed marathon – the walks, runs and tasks, he must take his own life. In addition, he also carries a small bag which consists of his secret holy book which will guide him on his journey and the 250 prayer-stops he must make. Some will be to honour monks of the past who died by suicide because they failed on their challenge. The bag will also hold some candles, matches, a small bag of food offerings to the deities, and a rosary. The “gyoja” will use handmade straw sandals on his bare feet and carry a straw raincoat and paper lantern.

As you can imagine, to complete this challenge is truly a test of endurance, perseverance and of both physical and mental strengths. It is no surprise that only 46 monks have completed this one-thousand-day challenge since 1885.

3.2 | Find out more on Marathon Monks

If you are interested to find out more on the “Marathon Monks”, you can purchase “The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei” by John Stevens (2013) for only £13.14 or much cheaper for a used copy from Amazon. To purchase your copy, click on the link below.

Watch this video on the monk who started his one-thousand-day journey. It gives an idea of what is expected of them to fulfil their journey with the use of just the straw sandals, paper lantern and a straw raincoat.

Watch Marathon Monks of Mt Hiei

Legendary seven year test of endurance that only a remarkable few have ever accomplished

4 | The historical Enryakuji Temple in Mount Hiei

Entrance to Enryakuji Temple Mount Hiei
Entrance to Enryakuji Temple, Mount Hiei, Kyoto | Image: georgina_daniel
Enryakuji Temple in Mount Hiei
Part of the Enryakuji Temple in Mount Hiei | Image: georgina_daniel
Enryakuji Temple at Mount Hiei
Part of the buildings forming Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto | Image: georgina_daniel

As mentioned above, the Enryakuji Temple in Mount Hiei is the HQ of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. It is spread over three areas:

  • Todo > on the East;
  • Saito > on the West;
  • Yokawa > a few kilometres north of Todo and Saito
There are clear sign-posting available to get you to the temples in Mount Hiei.
There are clear sign-posting available to get you to the temples in Mount Hiei.

All three sites are linked by hiking trails that will take you through the woods and tall cedar trees.

4.1 | Todo, on the East of Mount Hiei

Todo is the main area and is the heart of Enryakuji with its three-storey pagoda where the monastery was originally built in the 8th century.

The main buildings are also located here which includes the main hall, “Kom pon Chudo” and the Amida Hall which was added to the complex in 1937.

Mount Hiei | Like other temples, there are shops for souvenirs in Mount Hiei
As with any visits to temples, you would always find shops for souvenirs, light refreshments and incense. You will find that Mount Hiei offer a great selection of these.

As Todo is the main area with many buildings, there were a number of tourists here. You can generally follow the crowd to get to the major attractions or you can explore on your own. I felt safe to do so, and I found the trails were well-signposted.

Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto

Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto
Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto
Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto
Enryakuji Temple and buildings in Mount Hiei, Kyoto | Image: georgina_daniel

A nice, quiet walk through the forest trail connects the Todo area to Saito.

4.2 | Saito on the West of Mount Hiei

Saito on the West houses many old buildings and amongst it is the mausoleum of the founder of Enryakuji Temple, Saicho. You will also find the Shaka Hall, the oldest building on the mountain.

Not too far off, you will find the Ninai Hall, where two halls are connected together by a central corridor.

Saito in Mount Hiei: Ninai Hall - Two buildings connected by a small passage
Saito in Mount Hiei: Ninai Hall – Two buildings connected by a small passage

4.3 | Yokawa

Yokawa is on the north of Todo and Saito and is a little further. It is connected by a trail through woods. If you are feeling adventurous, I would urge you to make this trail through the woods, where you can admire the Chudo main hall which is built on wooden platform.

5 | A beautiful walk in the forest of Mount Hiei

As I walked along these trails, in the midst of lush greenery, I came come across many small buildings and temples, way-shrines tucked away in the middle of the forest in between the lush greens, bell towers, lecture halls and places for meditation. All these buildings are well-connected with stone-paved steps and trails with stone-lanterns along the way.

Stone lanterns along the trail, paves the way to explore what's beyond and in the forest.
Stone lanterns along the trail, paves the way to explore what’s beyond and in the forest. These are easily accessible, walkable trails.
Stone-paved steps connects the buildings in Enryakuji Temple. Easily walkable.
Mount Hiei: Stone-paved steps connects the buildings in Enryakuji Temple. Easily walkable.

One can imagine the beauty of the lighted lanterns in the evening or when in the dark – perhaps it is to light the path the monks once took before they entered the deep forest. It was pretty.

A walk in the forest of Mount Hiei will lead you to discover buildings and temples dotted around – sometimes to pray and sometimes a place to meditate.

Buildings and Temples dotted around the forest in Mount Hiei. Sometimes to pray and sometimes a place to meditate.
Buildings and Temples dotted around the forest in Mount Hiei. Sometimes to pray and sometimes a place to meditate.
Buildings and Temples dotted around the forest in Mount Hiei
Buildings and Temples dotted around the forest in Mount Hiei. Sometimes to pray and sometimes a place to meditate.

I spent some time walking around, lost in the moment of my own thoughts, taking-in the serenity and calmness of the mountain when I heard the bell.

6 | The huge bell at Enryakuji Temple, Mount Hiei

The huge bell everyone queues for to ring at least once in Mount Hiei. You can hear it in the most part of the forest.
The huge bell everyone queues for to ring at least once in Mount Hiei. You can hear it in the most part of the forest.

I followed the sound and came to a huge bell where tourists were queuing-up to ring it. Every temple seems to have one of these but the bell at Enryakuji is huge, perhaps to signify its importance.

The bell has a huge wooden rod made from a log. The log is used to ring the bell. The bell is rung by a Buddhist faithful when entering a temple or when answering a call to worship. The bell symbolises wisdom and compassion which Buddhist believers and practitioners recognise as being the path to enlightenment. This particular site was very popular and to take a “tourist-free” photo was difficult!.

7 | My conclusion on Mount Hiei, Kyoto

Like I said, if you want to get away from the maddening crowd of Kyoto, Mount Hiei is the place to be. You could spend the day here and still get back to Kyoto in the evening and experience the nightlife of Gion-shiji.

In retrospect, when I left London for Osaka, I did not know of Mount Hiei. Being here, I found Mount Hiei to be an unforgettable Japan experience. It gave me an insight into Buddhism, the test of perseverance and courage that the infamous “marathon monks” endure in their one-thousand-day challenge. Walking through the peaceful forest was quite an experience for a city girl like me and I think I may have brought some of the serenity back with me.

I sincerely hope that you will visit Mount Hiei in Kyoto. Below are some useful information for you to consider that may help you make that visit.

8 | Travel tips and Useful Information

Mount Hiei is situated on the hills, northeast of Kyoto, on the border between Kyoto and Shiga Prefecture, Kyoto. It is at 850 metres (2500 feet) in elevation and at its summit, offers spectacular views over Old Kyoto and Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan. There are three ways to get to Mt Hiei using transportation, but it is more popular amongst hikers who can complete the hike up in a few hours – whichever way you choose to get up here, it will make a nice day trip for solo travellers, couples and families of any age.

8.1 | What route did I opt for to get up to Mount Hiei

I opted for the bus-ride up from Kyoto Station which was an hour, purely because I wanted to experience the ride. The roads were narrow but very skilfully manoeuvred by the driver. As you ascend, you will feel the coolness set in and feel your ears…and of course, you are rewarded with the picturesque views from the mountain and the valley below as you ascend. It was certainly different but good.

8.2 | Route to get back down to ground level from Mount Hiei

Sakamoto Cable car - A ride from Mount Hiei to Sakamoto Station was just 2 kilometres.
Sakamoto Cable car – A ride from Mount Hiei to Sakamoto Station was just 2 kilometres. | Image: georgina_daniel

For my return journey, I opted to take the Sakamoto Cable car to the Shiga side. This route was to the base of the mountain at Sakamoto Station which was the nearest station to my next destination. A visit to Lake Biwa was next on my itinerary. This two-kilometres, 11-minute journey proved to be well-worth the money as it offered an awesome view directly over Lake Biwa and an opportunity to stroll through the town of Sakamoto.

View of Lake Biwa from the cable car ride down to Sakamoto
View of Lake Biwa from the cable car ride down to Sakamoto | Image: georgina_daniel

9 | Other places to visit in Mount Hiei

There are other places which you may wish to visit in Mount Hiei. Below are some that may be of interest to you. I did not visit these places as I wanted to spend more time in the woods and make it to Lake Biwa for the sunset

9.1 | The Garden Museum, Hiei

This garden is about 1.7 hectares and is based on French impressionism and has about 100,000 blooms each year.

Entry: 1030 Yen

Opening times: 10:00 – 17:30 (Open later during summer and at night during summer weekends).

URL: http://www.garden-museum-hiei.co.jp/

9.2 | Tsukuri Soba

This soba restaurant is opened from 09:30 to 16:00

10 | Useful Information

  • Take a light jacket with you as the temperature drops very slightly;
  • Wear proper walking shoes or hiking boots;
  • Take a bottle of water with you and some light snacks if you wish to have a break while you are exploring.

11 | Getting to Mount Hiei: 3 routes

From Kyoto side – by Eizan Cable car and Ropeway

  • Take the Keihan Line from Kyoto Station and exit at Demachiyanagi Station, the last station/stop on the route;
  • From Demachiyanagi, ride to the summit of Mount Hiei on the Eizan Electric Railway, Eizan Cable and Eizan Ropeway;
  • The Eizan Electric Railway is a sightseeing line dotted with locations known for their harmonious balance of nature and the old capital such as Ohara, Kurama and Kibune. After about 15 minutes ride, you will arrive at Yase-Hieizanguchi Station. This part of your journey offers you with beautiful spring growth and autumn colours. There is a temple here, Ruriko-in Temple which has special openings in spring and autumn.
  • From Yase, take the Eizan Cable Car, which is another 15 minutes journey, to the top of Mount Hiei. This is one of the steepest ride in Japan. Thereafter, transfer to the ropeway which will take you all the way to the top of the 840-metre summit. The summit is about six degrees Celsius cooler than downtown Kyoto, so it may feel cold at the top. Take a light jacket with you even when you are visiting in the summer.

Fares:

Demachiyanagi Station to Yase-Hieizanguchi Station (Eizan Electric Railway):

Adults: 260 yen | Children: 130 yen

Eizan Cable Car: Adults: 540 yen | Children: 270 yen

Eizan Ropeway: Adults: 310 yen | Children: 160 yen

From the Shiga side

From Kyoto Station, take the JR Kosei Line to Hiei-Sakamoto Station;

This train journey is approximately 15 minutes. Alternatively, you may want to take the Shinkansen from Kyoto Station to Hiei-Sakamoto Station.

  • From Hiei-Sakamoto Station, it is a 15-minute walk to the lower station of the Sakamoto Cablecar, or a 5-minute bus ride;
  • The Cable car ride takes about 11 minutes;
  • From the upper station, the Todo area is about 5-10 minutes walk.

Kyoto Station to Hiei-Sakamoto Station (JR Kosei Line): Adult: 320 Yen (one-way);

Fares

Kyoto Station to Hiei-Sakamoto Station on the Shinkansen is covered by the JR Pass and you would not have to pay the 320 Yen.

Sakamoto Cable car: 860 Yen (one-way) or 1,620 Yen for a round-trip. You can purchase this ticket from a vending machine at the station.

By Bus

This route is a toll-road and there are direct buses from Kyoto Station and Sanjo Station (Keihan Line) to Hieizan’s Todo area.

  • From Kyoto Station > take Bus Line 57 that leaves from bus-stop C6. Lin-up for Mount Hiei
  • Journey time is one hour, one-way;
  • There are 4-6 buses a day;
  • Bus services do not operate between December and March.

Fares:

The one-way trip takes about one-hour and costs about 770 Yen.

12 | Opening hours

12.1 | Todo on the East:

March to November: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
December: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
January and February: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

12.2 | Saito on the West and Yokawa Area

March to November: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
December: 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
January and February: 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

13 | Admission

You can get a combined ticket/pass to all three areas of Enryakuji Temple:

Adults: 700 yen


Was this article valuable to you in planning your visit to Mount Hiei? If so, do let me know in comments below or via the Contact form. I would love to hear from you.

.Happy Adventures!

February 2021, Update


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Mount Hiei Kyoto
Mount Hiei Kyoto
Mount Hiei

Escape the maddening crowd of downtown Kyoto to the dense forest of towering cedar trees and experience the indescribable natural beauty and serenity that exists here. A detailed travel guide on what to see, do and how to get to this mountain. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Escape the maddening crowd of downtown Kyoto to the dense forest of towering cedar trees and experience the indescribable natural beauty and serenity that exists here. A detailed travel guide on what to see, do and how to get to this mountain. via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/