The mountain, Hiei-zan, and the Ohara region are the focal points in the northern suburbs of Kyoto. For several centuries Ohara was a sleepy Kyoto backwater surrounded by mountains. Although it's catching up with the times, it retains a feeling of Old Japan. Hiei-zan is a fount of Kyoto history. On its flanks the priest Saicho founded Enryaku-ji in the 8th century and with it the vital Tendai sect of Buddhism. It's an essential Kyoto sight, and walking on forested slopes among its 70-odd temples is a good reason to make the trek to Hiei-zan.
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