Ohara inc. Sanzen-in
Heading out of Kyoto but still within the boundaries of the city, Ohara is a picturesque rural area approximately 60-minutes to the north of Kyoto Station. This tranquil enclave is often missed by international visitors but can be easily included in any itinerary when heading from Kyoto toward Fukui and Kanazawa or the other way around.
Sanzen-in is the most famous temple in the area, founded by the legendary monk Saicho in the early 9th century. The temple complex is comprised of multiple buildings – including the ‘Kyakuden’ (guest hall), ‘Shinden’ (main hall) – and expansive Shuhekien Garden renowned for the lush moss ground coverings and beautiful autumn leaves, that are at their best in late-October into November. Located with the garden, Ojo-Gokuraku-in is the oldest structure within the temple complex, dating back to the mid-12th century.
An avenue of restaurants and stores led to Sanzen-in while the temple buildings are connected by corridors with buildings housing multiple important artefacts. Away from Sanzen-in, several smaller temples are dotted throughout Ohara making it an enjoyable daytrip from central for anyone looking to escape the crowds.
Mar. to Nov.: 08:30-17:30
To reach Ohara / Sanzen-in from Kyoto Station, take Bus No.17 from Kyoto Station - 60 minutes / JPY560 - or alternatively, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kokusaikaikan Station - 20 minutes / JPY290 - and then transfer to Bus No.19 to Ohara - another 20 minutes / JPY360. Sanzen-in is around 10 minutes walk from the bus stop