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Black bears, wild boar and macaque monkeys can all be found in Japan’s mountainous areas, and you don’t want to get on the wrong side of any of them!

Enryaku-ji’s centre of worship is the Konpon-Chudo, the main hall.

It’s actually undergoing a long-term restoration project at the moment, and is covered in scaffolding, but don’t let that deter you from visiting, there’s plenty more to see besides!

The temple’s buildings are sprawled all across the mountain, but are mainly concentrated in three compounds.

Two of these areas, the To-to (East pagoda) and Sai-to (West Pagoda) are located close to each other.

takes place over 1000 days, spread over a seven-year period.

Over the years, the monks commit to walking (the word “marathon” is slightly misleading – the monks hike, but don’t run) either 100 or 200 days of the year over increasingly long distances, starting at 30km per day and working up to 84km per day in the final year.

From Shugaku-in Station it takes about 20 minutes to walk to the trailhead.

The course is not technically difficult, but it’s unpaved and quite steep in places. The total elevation of the mountain is only 848 m, a baby compared to Mount Fuji’s towering 3,776 m, but it’s very interesting to see how the landscape changes as you ascend.

If you’re interested in having a guided hike up to and around Mount Hiei, while learning about Japan’s Buddhist heritage in the process, please mention this blog piece to your expert travel consultant. To include Richard’s tour of Mount Hiei in your trip, click here to get in touch with a travel consultant now.

Credits for music and characters at the end of the game! I have to warn you most everyone is probably going to hate her main ending, but I had to make and honest end.

If you’ve been following any of my earlier blog posts, you might have guessed what that thing is… Mount Hiei is the home of Enryaku-ji, the head temple of the Tendai school of Buddhism, founded by the monk Saicho (also known by his posthumous name Dengyo Daishi) in 788 AD.