Enryaku-ji Temple, located on Mount Hiei in Otsu, overlooks all of Kyoto from its serene mountaintop. The temple was founded in 788 in the early Heian period by Saicho, who brought the Tendai sect of Buddhism from China to Japan. He is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history.
The main hall at Enryakuji is undergoing a ten-year program of renovations that began in 2016. The main hall itself can still be entered, though it is largely covered with scaffolding through the renovation project. More >
Note the opening hours vary by location within the temple.
At its peak, the Enryaku-ji Temple had up to 3,000 sub-temples and a powerful army of martial monks, who often got involved in power struggles with other monasteries and political leaders.
Oda Nobunaga attacked, demolished and killed most of Enryakui's buildings in 1571 in order to eliminate all potential rivals and unite the country. Hence, most of today's temple buildings date from the early Edo period when the Enryaku-ji Temple was rebuilt.
Mount Hiei can be accessed from the Kyoto-side by Eizan Cablecar or from the Shiga-side by Sakamoto Cablecar. The Sakamoto Cablecar operates year-round, while the Eizan Cablecar does not operate during winter. After leaving the cable car, there is a clearly marked path that leads to Enryaku-ji temple.
The Shugaku-in Imperial Villa, or Shugaku-in Detached Palace, is a set of gardens and outbuildings in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of Japan's most important large-scale cultural treasures; its gardens are one of the great masterpieces of Japanese gardening. [Wikipedia] A reservation is required to visit Shugaku-in Imperial Villa.
Enkō-ji, is a Zen Buddhist temple located near the Shugakuin Imperial Villa at Sakyō-ku, Ichijo-ji, Kotani-cho, in northeast Kyoto, Japan. It is famous for its fall foliage and Suikinkutsu. [Wikipedia]
Sanzen-in is a Tendai school monzeki temple in Ōhara, Kyoto, Japan. The Heian period triad of Amida Nyorai flanked by attendants is a National Treasure. Sanzenin Temple is the main attraction of the rural town of Ohara, which is located about an hour north of central Kyoto. [Wikipedia]