Kyoto is a beautiful place surrounded by mountains. The highest mountain of this region is called Mount Hiei. It is famous for hiking, but even more for the temple that it nests, Enryakuji. On the way to the temple don’t forget to visit the beautiful garden museum. Japanese gardens are common in Kyoto, especially close to the temples and castles. In contrast to the conventional style, this garden is actually French style, and as per my opinion one of the most beautiful sites in Kyoto.
Fly over the mountain
There are two ways to reach the temple. Unless you are looking for a hiking adventure, the combination of cable car and ropeway seems like a good option. For those interested in hiking, let me just warn you that it is a really long and steep way, and that it can be very confusing to locate the route. It may take four to five hours to reach the peak, depending on your stamina and navigation capability. By cable car, it may take around half an hour from Yase-Hieizanguchi station.
Don’t be disappointed because still you have the option to hike from the ropeway terminus or garden museum to Enryakuji. The ropeway terminus is just at the opposite of the garden museum. You can also take only cable car. Cable car terminus is hardly 300 meter from the garden museum, so walking this distance is not a bad option either.
Enter the paradise of love
Stepping into garden museum is a wonderful experience, and you will be surprised to see so many non-Japanese plants and flowers. The big oil paintings all along makes it look like it’s a scene directly taken from a dream. You can pose like the characters in the paintings if you want, as the accessories are displayed beside the frames. Please notice in the above photo how the umbrella is already displayed besides this famous Monet painting. Unfortunately no swirling skirt was there for me to try on!
An awesome rose garden is an additional attraction, next to lots of lilies, lavender, sunflowers and more flowers I unfortunately do not know the name of. A small ditch with lotus and water lily, a chair for couples under the blossomed canopy: this garden definitely is a paradise for lovers. If you are tired after having a good smell of the flower and jumping around for photoshoot, then take a rest in a French-style cafeteria inside the garden. If it is a clear day an amazing view, you will be able to admire the famous Lake Biwa.
A great temple that embraces the mountain
The distance from the garden to Enryakuji temple is 2m. Fortunately, it is downhill, so you can reach the temple in half an hour. However coming back takes longer, because now you have to climb up the slope.
Enryakuji To-do (the main building of the temple) is a nice place to see and assimilated into the Buddhist temple ambience. The place is really a divine land of peace and serene beauty. Sit there for long time, roam around and breathe deep to get the purest air. No wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Explore what people call “the Mount Fuji of Kyoto”
If you plan to visit Mount Heian, I really recommend that you take your trip for late October or November. In the Autumn season, you can watch magnificent shades of orange, red, and brown with combinations of green around the whole mountain, as well as in the beautiful garden museum. Wish you for a colorful and bright trip ahead.
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