Towering above Kyoto to the northwest is Mount Hieizan, considered one of the most important holy mountains in Japan. At the peak, what once began as an outcast group of hermits living in huts a more than a millennia ago has grown into one of Japan's most impressive temple complexes. From their seat of power above the clouds, the monks at Hieizan had a hand not only in Kyoto's religious affairs, but political ones as well. These warrior monks even took up arms against the city and rival temples before themselves meeting a violent fate. Hieizan is the finest lookout point in all of Kansai, with expansive views in all directions that will leave you awestruck.

Despite the prominence of Mt. Hieizan over the Kyoto skyline, it's not a major destination for foreign tourists. Getting to the summit can be a daunting task, with numerous transportation transfers required, several routes up the mountain, and a variety of confusing and somewhat expensive tickets. Knowing the best route to get the most out of your experience is key to fully exploring what the mountain has to offer. At KyoTours Japan, we handle all transportation arrangements and make sure you make the most of your time atop this sacred peak.

***Because of unpredictable weather and transportation closures, this tour may not be available during winter. Please contact us for updated availability.***

For more info on a few special locations in this full day tour that many tourists often skip, read our blog about it HERE.

The following is a sample itinerary for the full day Mt. Hieizan tour:

  • Get a ground level view of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake, before seeing it later from the mountaintop.
  • Walk along the Biwako Canal and see where it enters a gaping tunnel to flow under Mt. Hieizan to Kyoto.
  • Explore the hillside Miidera temple complex, often featured in samurai films thanks to it beautiful scenery.
  • Hear of the violent rivalry between Miidera and Enryakuji temples, which left more than a few ghosts wandering the hillside.
  • Visit beautiful Hiyoshi Taisha, a quiet Shinto shrine nestled in the foothills where the god of Mt. Hieizan dwells.
  • Ascend the eastern slope of Mt. Hiezan by antique Sakamoto Cable Car, offering gorgeous views of Lake Biwa.
  • Enjoy expansive views of Kyoto, Lake Biwa, and (on a clear day) all the way to Osaka and beyond.
  • Experience the stunning temples of the Enraykuji monastery complex dotted along the forested spine of the mountain.
  • Take a nature walk down the same wooded paths that the famous "marathon monks" use for ritual training.
  • Complete your collection of goshuin temple stamps and calligraphy by starting at Miidera (Note: extra fees apply)
  • Return to Kyoto via the western slope and experience a different side of the mountain via cable car and ropeway.

Full Day Mount Hieizan Trek

Duration: approx. 7 to 8 hours

Price: 31,000 yen for one guest

(6000 yen for each additional guest)

My wife and I came to Japan for cultural reasons. To really immerse yourself in Japanese culture, it is prudent to understand their religions/beliefs as this can be a link to Japanese identity. The Mount Hieizan tour was perfect for setting the tone of the stark contrasts between Japanese beliefs and those of Western culture. There was plenty to see on this tour and the Goshuin temple stamp collecting was great.
— Aritthal, from Michigan, USA (via Trip Advisor)

Additional information

***Because of unpredictable weather and transportation closures, this tour may not be available during winter. Please contact us for updated availability.***

  • Tour price includes transportation fees (train, bus, cable car, and/or ropeway) and temple admission fees.
  • This is mainly a walking tour, so comfortable clothing and shoes are recommended.
  • This tour requires a start time no later than 8:30am.
  • The Mt. Hieizan Tour usually departs from Kyoto Station, but arrangements can sometimes be made to leave from your hotel or other spots in the city depending on the location.
  • Guests are responsible for their own bill for any food or drink purchased while on the tour.
  • Additional activities chosen by the guests during an all day tour must be paid for by guests.
  • If guests would prefer to take a taxi between locations, guests are responsible for all taxi fees (limit 3 guests per taxi).
  • Itinerary subject to change due to seasonal changes in temple hours, special events, transportation delays, weather, or other factors. Guests will be kept informed of any itinerary changes as they occur on the day of the tour.
  • Please read our terms and conditions for more information before booking.

To book this tour, inquire about scheduling, or request more info, please use the contact form below.

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