Mt. Hiei’s Yokawa (横川) area is the least visited but most spiritual part of Enryakuji by tourists. The area was founded by Ennin (円仁), also known as Jigaku Daishi (慈覚大師). He is the disciple of Saichō (最澄) and the third head of the Tendai sect in Japan. Tucked deep in the mountain, this part of Mt. Hiei […]
Saitō (西塔) is a quiet place deep in Mt. Hiei in beautiful cedar forests in the west founded by Enchō (円澄), also known as Jikukō Daishi (寂光大師). While the number of attractions here isn’t as many as in the Tōdō area, we loved our visit to Saitō. It wasn’t as busy as Tōdō. The atmosphere here
The Tōdō (東塔) area is the center of Enryakuji, where the most critical worship halls are located. Moreover, the mountaintop station of Sakamoto Cable Car and Eizan Ropeway is also close to the Tōdō area. Thus, if you have time constraints, focus on the attractions in the east part of Mt. Hiei.
Kyoto, the former capital of Japan, is undoubtedly the top tourist destination in the country. But because of its popularity, the city center is packed with hundreds of thousands of tourists. So, if you want to enjoy the traditional side of Japan without being surrounded by strangers, visit Mt. Hiei, located on the border between Kyoto and Shiga
If you want to escape the crowds in Kyoto‘s city center in autumn, visit Kameoka. The city that is just a couple of stations away has a couple of amazing fall foliage spots waiting for you to explore. While the shrines and temples in Kameoka aren’t as accessible as the ones closer to Kyoto Station,
If you are after a spiritual place in Kameoka, consider visiting Izumo-Daijingū Shrine (出雲大神宮). The shrine that is tucked in Kyoto‘s beautiful nature has a serene atmosphere. When the weather starts getting colder, the precinct becomes more splendid with different colors in the background.
If you have read our Kinosaki Onsen article, do you remember our history talk about the monk, Dōchi Shōnin (道智上人), who uncovered the spring source of the hot spring town? The story continues and is the origin of Onsenji Temple at Mt. Daishi. In the past, those who visited Kinosaki for the hot spring would
When speaking of Izushi, the town is probably most famous for its Izushi Soba (出石そば). With around 40 soba restaurants in the small town, there is no doubt that soba noodles are one of the town’s biggest selling points. Unlike elsewhere in Japan, where you are served with one bowl or plate of noodles, in
If you have two days to spend in Kinosaki Onsen, allocate half a day to visit Izushi. The small township is a hidden gem close to the popular hot spring town. After enjoying the town’s famous local specialty, Izushi Soba, hike up to the top of Izushi Castle Ruins (出石城跡) for a panoramic view of
When next you visit Japan, if you plan to base your trip in Tokyo and make day trips to the surrounding cities, Kawagoe (川越) in Saitama Prefecture will be a great destination. The town known as Little Edo (小江戸) is where you can enjoy both the traditional vibes and conveniences of a modern city!