It takes about an hour and a half to get to Sakamoto from where we live.
On Saturday, we went there to check out Enryakuji, a huge compound of temples of the Tendai sect, located on Mount Hiei.
We've actually visited Mount Hiei (pre-blog) from the Kyoto-side. This time around we visited from the Shiga, Sakamoto side.
From the JR Hiei-Sakamoto station, it is about a 20 minute walk to the Sakamoto cable station.
In Japan, they often give directions in terms of how many minutes walking it takes. I often wonder who's step spans they are using to gauge this.
The cable is the largest in Japan. It takes about 11 minutes to get from Sakamoto to the top.
The view of Lake Biwa is breath-taking.
Enryakuji is divided up into three areas..Todo (literally east-side), Saito (west-side) and Yokawa (literally side river)
To get to Saito and Yokawa, you could walk, but I recommend taking their shuttle bus (because the paths are supposedly going along the mountains, and because from what I saw there were a lot of stairs).
There is an all day pass for 800 yen and it allows you to get on and off the bus.
From the cable car station, it is about an 8 minute walk to Todo.
When we arrived, we saw a procession of monks. You can see the video I shot of this here. (The highest status monk is riding in the car...)
Because a lot of the temples are on mountain-sides, you'll notice quickly that there are a LOT of stairs...some literally make you feel like you are going straight up!
Lunch was at rest-stop called Minemichi. I had their Omi beef curry. Super tender meat though a bit on the fatty side...950 yen (tax included)
Satoshi had their Omi beef cold noodle with tan tan sauce...1300 yen (tax included)
Despite all the stairs I enjoyed all the various stone sculptures.
and all the different moss.
I was also amazed by the size of some of the cedar trees.
Because we were so close to nature...we also saw mamushi (snake). According to Wikipedia, they are poisonous...you should've seen Satoshi jump when I told him he just walked past it (he hates snakes and won't even look at one even if it is on tv!)
It was a crazy long day. But the weather was super nice and bonding with nature was really tranquil.
We want to come back to check out the fall foliage and explore more of Sakamoto.
I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did.