Nature & Culture of Japan

To make your trip to Japan more interesting

Temples & Buddhism Religion

Mt. Hiei was a university for studying Buddhism (比叡山は仏教を学ぶ大学だった)

Mt. Hiei is a mountain that straddles Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture and Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture. Many people in Kyoto, which used to be the capital city of Japan, all think that Mt. Hiei is a mountain of Kyoto.

However, the main organization,   Enryakuji Temple  is on the Shiga side. The is probably because the hometown of Saicho, who built this temple in the 9th century, was on the Shiga side.  This may also concern that the mountain worship which was originally started as a landmark for ships passing through Lake Biwa.

The time when Saicho built the temple was when Buddhism spread from the urban people in the ancient capital city of Nara to the common people. And the temple left the urban area and was started to be built also in a mountain sacred place. At the same time, Kukai opened Mt. Koya in Wakayama Prefecture.

Mt. Hiei played a roll as a university for studying Buddhism at that time. Since the 12th century, Shinran, Dogen etc., who started a new Buddhist denomination, all learned Buddhism deeply at Mt. Hiei.

Mt. Hiei. From Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture.


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