Mt. Hiei (比叡山)

Mt. Hiei is a mountain that straddles the western part of Otsu City in Shiga Prefecture and the northeastern part of Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture. Mt. Hiei is the name for the Soji ridge, which is formed by two peaks: Daihiei (848.3m) on the border between Otsu City and Kyoto City's Sakyo Ward; and Shimeigatake in Sakyo Ward (838m). Daihiei's first-order triangulation point is located in Otsu City. Next to Mt. Koya, it has long been an object of religious belief, flourishing with Enryaku-ji Temple and Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine on it. It is part of the Higashiyama mountains (Kyoto Prefecture). It is also known as Eizan, Hokurei, Tendaisan, Miyakofuji, etc.

Because of its location near the Kimon gate on the northeast side of Kyoto, Mt. Hiei is considered a castle guardian. The Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters) calls Mt. Hiei 'Hienoyama', and records that Oyamakui no kami is enshrined on Hienoyama in Omi Province, and Narikabura is the object of worship. Ever since Enryaku-ji Temple was founded on Hienoyama, Oyamakui no kami, as the god of the land, has been a guardian deity of the Tendai Sect and Enryaku-ji Temple; and a mountain-king sect based on him has spread in the area. Also, it is the mountain where Enryaku-ji Temple's Thousand-Day Circumambulation Practice is done, including a pilgrimage to the shrines at the peak of Mt. Hiei, and to Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine at its foot.

Hiking is popular, and a famous trail begins at Shugakuin in Sakyo Ward of Kyoto City and goes up Kirarazaka hill; another one on the Shiga Prefecture side begins in Monzenmachi, Sakamoto (Otsu City), and goes up through Mudojidani valley. The path on Kirarazaka hill has long been used by monks, monk soldiers and imperial messengers traveling between Kyoto and Enryaku-ji Temple, and is still visited by many hikers today. The Tokaido Nature Trail passes through the mountain on the way from Otsu to Kyoto/Ohara.

Many tourists come on holidays, since they can reach the top via toll road, cable car, and ropeway. There used to be a Mt. Hiei Amusement Park and a Mt. Hiei Artificial Ski Slope, but both were closed before 2002; the site of the ski slope is now a cosmos flower garden, and there is an art museum - Hiei Garden Museum - on the former location of the amusement park. There was also a Forest Land Amusement Park in Yase, at the foot of the mountain on the Kyoto side, although that was closed on November 30, 2001, and a members-only resort hotel now stands in that location.

Daihiei and Shimeigatake
The survey findings from the Geographical Survey Institute show the eastern peak as Daihiei, the western peak as Shimeigatake, and both of them together as Mt. Hiei. According to "Ten no Ki" (The Record of Survey), the first-order triangulation point on the eastern peak is called "Mt. Hiei". Although this marker is located at the border between Otsu and Kyoto cities, it is inside Otsu City.

When one views Mt. Hiei from the Kyoto basin, it is difficult to see the Daihiei peak, so some think that Shimeigatake is the peak of Mt. Hiei. The Keifuku Electric Railroad Eizan Ropeway has its Hiei Mountaintop Station placed on the Shimeigatake peak. There are conflicting opinions as to the proper way to write and read "Shimeigatake"; the GSI lists Shimeigatake/Shimeidake, while "Place Names of Kyoto" lists Shimeigatake and Shimyo no Mine. Mt. Hiei gets its alternate names, Mt. Tendai and Shimeigatake, from Mt. Tiantai and Mt. Siming, sacred mountains in the People's Republic of China that have associations with the Tendai Sect.

Mt. Hiei Viewed from the Side (left side)
The Tanba plateau and the Hira mountain region are separated by the Hanaore fault. For this reason, it is considered to belong to the Hiei mountain region, or the Hiei Daigo mountain region.

Hieizan Railway Line (Sakamoto Cable)
Keifuku Electric Railway Keifuku Cable Line (Eizan Cable)
Keifuku Electric Railway Eizan Ropeway
Hieizan Driveway
Kyoto/Shiga Prefectural Route 30, Shimogamo-Otsu Road (Yamanakagoe)
Hieizan Drive Bus/Hieizan Mountain Shuttle Bus
Keihan Bus Yamashina Ticket Office, to Mt. Hiei
Kyoto Bus Arashiyama Ticket Office/Mt. Hiei Line (Hieizan Drive Bus)

Television Broadcast Towers
On the side of Sakyo Ward of Kyoto City, there are television stations that service the Kyoto Prefecture area. The antennae have directional capabilities to prevent the signal from leaking to the Shiga Prefecture side.

Land-based Digital Television Broadcasting Facilities

Began broadcasting on April 1, 2005.

Land-based Analog Television Broadcasting Facilities

NHK Osaka, NHK Educational Television, MBS Mainichi Broadcasting, ABC Asahi Broadcasting, KTV Kansai TV, and ytv Yomiuri TV signals can be received directly from Mt. Ikoma (both digital and analog broadcasting). There are also many households that watch NHK Sogo from the Osaka broadcast on Mt. Ikoma.

[Original Japanese]