【Kyoto Sightseeing 】Beautiful Gardens and Matcha! Handpicked Temples in Kyoto’s Ohara District for a Quiet Reprieve

As you probably already expect, Kyoto is a place where you can find temples that let guests drink matcha green tea while appreciating their famous gardens. Go to any of these temples, and spend a luxurious time having your heart and soul cleansed by the tranquility of the mountain village. <※This information is from Kansai Walker (issued on September 5, 2017)>

Marvel at the Village Beyond the Bamboo Forest! A Short Break That Will Make You Forget the Time

Hosen-in is a sub-temple of the Shorin-in Temple that is at the heart of Ohara. It is known for its Bankan-en Garden – also known as “Gakubuchi Tei-en” (Picture Frame Garden) – that treats guests to gorgeous views that are framed between pillars. If you take a short rest while looking at this garden whose name means “difficult to leave”, your soul is bound to be soothed. There are also many spots to see here, including the Chitenjo (bloody ceiling) and Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine).

Bankan-en Offers a Beautiful View of the Ohara Countryside Beyond the Bamboo Forest! Enjoy the Sound of Bamboo Swaying in the Wind

As a welcome treat, guests are served matcha green tea and original handmade wagashi (traditional Japanese confectionery). Breathe in and relax while appreciating the gorgeous garden before you.

Goyomatsu (Japanese white pine) – an approximately 700-year-old tree that is full of vitality – will appear right in front of your eyes when you pass through the gate. Designated as a Natural Monument by Kyoto, it can be seen up close from the Kyakuden (Main Reception Hall).

The chief priest at the temple, Kozen Fujii, claimed that, “We do not impose limits on the viewing time at the Main Reception Hall, where guests can sit down and look at the Picture Frame Garden. So please come and appreciate the beauty of the garden to your heart’s content! With Buddhist hymns as your background music, drink matcha green tea and tune in to my sermon. I’m sure you will feel relaxed.”

■ Hosen-in
Phone: 075-744-2409
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (last entry at 4:30 pm)
Closed: None
Entrance fee: 800 JPY (including tea snacks)
Parking area: None
Access: Approx. 65 minutes on the Kyoto Bus 17 or 18 from Kyoto Station, and then a 13-minute walk from Ohara bus stop


187 Ohara Shorinin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Drink Matcha at a Special Seat, and Then Stroll Inside the Temple Grounds

Sanzen-in is a monzeki temple where members of the imperial family have served as chief priests since the last Heian period. Its origin comes from the thatched hut that was opened by Saicho – founder of Tendai Buddhism – at the Todo (Eastern Tower) of Mt. Hiei. Purchase a tea ticket inside the main reception hall, and then have your tea at the veranda. Enjoy Shuheki-en – a garden that was said to have been renovated by Sowa Kanamori, a tea master from the Edo period.

The veranda of the reception hall facing the garden has seats where guests can drink matcha tea. These are definitely special seats! If you come, note that the entrance and exit are different, so hurry to experience this area as soon as you enter!

Another garden adopting a natural landscape is Yusei-en Garden. Here, you can see the Ojo Gokuraku-in Hall across a thicket of cedar trees.

This temple is also dotted with moss-covered statues of Warabe Jizo.

■Sanzen-in (Sanzen-in Monzeki)
Phone: 075-744-2531
Hours: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM (gates close at 5:30 PM)
※Varies depending on the season
Closed: None
Entrance fee:
Adult: 700 JPY
Junior high school/High school student: 400 JPY
Elementary school student: 150 JPY
Parking area: None
Access: Approx. 65 minutes on the Kyoto Bus 17 or 18 from Kyoto Station, and then a 10-minute walk from Ohara bus stop

Sanzen-in (Sanzen-in Monzeki)

540 Ohara Raikoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Recommended! Drop By This Spot

OHARA River side café KIRIN is a standalone cafe that is operated by the owner, who is a certified vegetable sommelier. Here, the Obanzai Buffet lunch set that consists of local Ohara-grown vegetables paired with onigiri (rice balls) made with freshly milled rice is particularly popular!

Try the Sato no Megumi Onigiri Lunch (1,500 JPY) that comes with Obanzai Buffet, and choose from five kinds of onigiri.

■OHARA River side café KIRIN
Phone: 075-744-2239
Hours: 11:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Closed: Tuesdays (following day if Tuesday is a national holiday)
Seating capacity: 30 seats
Smoking: No smoking
Parking space: None
Access: 3-minute walk from Ohara bus stop

OHARA River side café KIRIN

114 Ohara Raikoin-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 09.18.2017]

*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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