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Going to Ohara from Kyoto Station by bus

Situated in a mountainous area north of the city of Kyoto, Ohara is a widely popular spot where tourists can go around temples while soaking in the healing powers of the nature-rich atmosphere. It is a little far from Kyoto Station, so it would be best to ride a bus to get there. If you take a bus, you can look forward to traveling while gazing at the changing views from the bus windows.

▼How to get there▼
Get on the bus (Kyoto Bus No.17 or No.18) from Bus Terminal C3 at Kyoto Station and then get off at the Ohara Bus Terminal, which is the last stop in the route. It takes roughly an hour to get to Ohara.

Going to Ohara from Kyoto Station by bus

Higashishiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

1. Jakkoin Temple (About a 15 minute walk from the bus terminal)

Once you arrive at Ohara Bus Terminal, the first place you should visit is the Jakkoin Temple.
Jakkoin Temple is a nunnery of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. Taira no Kiyomori, chief of the Heike clan, established Japan’s first military government in the 12th century and boasted of its prosperity. This place is where Kenreimon-in, the daughter of Taira no Kiyomori, lived in seclusion after the demise of the Heike clan. It is also famous as a place associated with the Tale of the Heike (a literary work created in early 13th century under the war chronicle genre that deals with the rise and fall of the Heike family). While it definitely cannot be considered as a big temple, it is still filled with many beautiful spots, including the mossy garden that sprawls in front of the main temple building and the Shihou Shoumen no Ike, a pond that is designed to look like you are staring at the building&s façade at whatever angle you look. Go up the main temple and relax while gazing at the garden.

▼Time necessary (estimated)▼
About 30 minutes

1. Jakkoin Temple (About a 15 minute walk from the bus terminal)

676 Oharakusao-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

2. Sanzen-in Temple (About a 30 minute walk from Jakkoin Temple)

The road leading to Sanzen-in Temple from Jakkoin Temple is littered with cafes and shops that sell souvenirs, so you might want to go on a leisurely walk while looking at the shops.
Sanzen-in Temple is said to have originated from Enyu-bo Temple that was built in Mt. Hiei in the 8th century. It flourished as a Monzeki temple (a temple where the head priest is a member of the imperial family or a court noble) starting 12th century. This temple settled at its current location in 1871 at the end of repeated transfers. It is home to numerous attractions, including the Ojo Gokuraku-in that has been designated as a national important cultural property and Amida Sanzon Zazou (statue of the Amida Triad) which is a national treasure. But more than anything, the must-see spots here are the two gardens – the Shuhekien and the Yuseien. In particular, the Yuseien garden in front of the Shinden (Emperor’s residence or the main hall) is stunningly beautiful thanks to the moss that looks like the garden has been blanketed in velvet, and the towering Japanese cedar trees. You just might forget the passing of time when you start gazing at this garden.

▼Time necessary (estimate)▼
About 1 hour

2. Sanzen-in Temple (About a 30 minute walk from Jakkoin Temple)

540 Ohararaikoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

3. Otonashi no Taki (About a 15 minute walk from Sanzen-in Temple)

Otonashi no Taki (the soundless waterfall) is located on the mountain pass from Sanzen-in.
This beautiful waterfall that is 3m – 4m in height flows quietly from the middle of Onoyama. Legend has it that when Ryonin Shonin (1073 – 1132), an expert in chanting Buddhist hymns, was practicing chanting in this waterfall, the sound of the waterfall and his voice overlapped and then canceled out the sound of the waterfall, so this waterfall came to be called the "soundless waterfall." When you get here, listen to the sound of the waterfall for a bit in a tranquil space surrounded by the lush greens of the mountain to refresh your mind and body first before you head out to your next destination.

▼Time necessary(estimate)▼
About 30 minutes

3. Otonashi no Taki (About a 15 minute walk from Sanzen-in Temple)

Ohararaikoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

4. Jikkoin Temple (About a 10 minute walk from Otonashi no Taki)

Located north of Sanzen-in Temple, Jikkoin Temple is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism.
Jikkoin Temple was built as a sub-temple of Shorin-in Temple hat was built by the monk Jakugen of the Tendai sect in early 12th century for the purpose of handing down a type of Buddhist chant called Tendai Shomyo. On the southern side of the reception hall, you will find the Keishin-en garden, a Japanese-style garden with a pond as the central feature that has the Shinji no Ike (a pond shaped like the kanji character for "heart"). This pond draws water from the Ritsusen River. You can see this garden from the reception hall. Meanwhile, at the circuit-style garden of the former Rikakuin on the west side of the reception hall, there are trees of “fudanzakura,” a rare type of cherry blossom that blooms from early fall until spring the next year. So in the fall, you can enjoy the autumn leaves and cherry blossoms at the same time.

▼Time necessary (estimate)▼
30 minutes – 1 hour

4. Jikkoin Temple (About a 10 minute walk from Otonashi no Taki)

187 Oharashorinin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

5. Hosen-in Temple (About a 2 minute walk from Jikkoin Temple)

Similar to Jikkoin Temple, Hosen-in Temple was also opened as a training temple for Buddhist chanting.
Hosen-in Temple was built in 1012, at the end of the Heian period. It may be a small temple, but Hosen-in has a lot of must-see spots. Some of these beautiful spots are the Bankan-en garden, which carries the meaning of “difficult to leave,” with a Japanese pine tree that is more than 700 years old that has been designated as a natural monument of Kyoto, and the Tsurukame Teien that can be viewed through a grating from the room. The Bankan-en is a picture frame garden that uses the pillars and the lintels of the reception hall as a picture frame when you view this space. You can gaze at this garden to your heart’s content while drinking green tea and eating sweets (included in the entrance fee). At dusk on a clear day, light from the sun sinking in the horizon will flood the reception hall, creating breathtaking beauty.

▼Time necessary (estimate)▼
About 1 hour

5. Hosen-in Temple (About a 2 minute walk from Jikkoin Temple)

187 Oharashorinin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

The center of sightseeing tours in the Ohara area are Jakkoin Temple and Sanzen-in Temple. They are 1.7km apart and you can walk from one temple to the other in about 30 minutes. As described in this article, there are many temples that are rich in nature and overflowing in charm in Ohara. Try not to go around in a hurry! Why not spend the whole day leisurely touring these beautiful places?

*The course in this article is based on an 8:00 am departure time from Kyoto Station. Make sure to check the entrance times and fees at each of the places on the list before you leave, just in case.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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