Enryakuji Kitatani Fort

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See Enryakuji for more information.

Visit Notes

The Kitatani-toride (‘North Valley Fort’) is one of many terraced ridges surrounding the temple-fortress of Enryakuji. Searching for its exact location I came across many terraced areas and the impression I got was of a fortified mountain, of which the forts I was searching for were merely nodes or clusters of dense fortifications within a contiguous sprawling expansion of baileys and embankments, which would’ve had walls, stockades and temple halls which could double as barracks. I found many long neglected ishigaki (stone walls) in these shady areas too. Some were in a state near to collapse, and their complete crumbling had been forestalled only by a fortuitously situated tree bowl or such. The main area of Kitatani-toride can be accessed by descending via a trail from the temple’s carpark. Here the terracing is tall and the flattened spaces are wide. I even thought I might’ve found the remains of a karabori (dry trench). These features make it the fort’s centre but from various dubious shortcuts I took I can attest that multiple ridges are terraced, and this makes me think that the fort covered a large area at the temple’s northern lower terraces. These terraced baileys would’ve contained barracks for ‘warrior monks’ and lodgings for worshippers. It is thought that the entire complex could’ve held up to 20,000 people, including thousands of monks, soldiers and their dependents in times of siege.

  • Ishigaki
  • Terraced bailey space with embankment to rear
  • Dorui
  • Terrace and moat-like structure

Castle Profile
English Name Enryakuji Kitatani Fort
Japanese Name 延暦寺北谷砦
Founder Saichō
Year Founded 778
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Artifacts Karabori, Kirigishi, Kuruwa, Dorui
Features trenches
Visitor Information
Access Yase-Hieizanguchi Station on the Eizan Line; Eizan Cable Car; Eizan Ropeway; Hike for 30 minutes to Enryakuji or bus; or, Sakamoto-Hieizanguchi Station on the Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line; Sakamoto Cable Car; or, Direct Bus via Kyoto Bus no. 51 or Keihan Bus no. 57 from Kyoto Station to Hieizan-cho.
Visitor Information Yase Route is 1,420 yen in total, including Eizan Railway and shuttle bus one-way; Sakamoto Cable Car is 870 yen; direct bus is 770 yen.
Time Required 50 minutes
Location Ôtsu, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates 35° 4' 20.57" N, 135° 50' 22.99" E
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Added to Jcastle 2022
Contributor ART
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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