Sanzen-in Temple in Ohara
The primary place of interest in Ohara must be Sanzen-in, a Tendai Buddhism monzeki (see note below) temple. Its gardens and a small hall called Ojogokuraku-in as well as the three Buddhist images in the hall are very much worth to see. Though these are not the only things to see. Do not miss minor items like small Buddhist images in the moss garden.
NOTE: Monzeki is a temple of which the head priests has always been a member of the imperial family or of the nobility.
They opened a exhibition hall in October 2006 where you can see a richly colored reproduction of wall paintings of Ojogokuraku-in.
History of Sanzen-in
The following is a simplified explanation of the complicated history of Sanzen-in.
Denkyo-daishi Saicho (767-822), the founder of Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji, built a small hall called En'nyu-bo in Todo of Enryaku-ji in the year 788. This is said to be the origin of Sanzen-in.
Sanzen-in became a monzeki temple in 1130 when the second son of Emperor Horikawa became the 14th head priest. While a nun called Shin'nyobo-ni founded Jogyozanmai-do (present day Ojogokuraku-in) in Ohara in 1148. This temple was incorporated into Sanzen-in in Tenmon era (1532-1555).
In the mid 12th century, many invocation-chanting-monks lived in Ohara and the monzeki temple set up mandokoro to govern them. This governing body eventually became the present day Sanzen-in. The temple moved in to mandokoro, the present site, in 1871 after changed its site several times. The name was changed to Sanzen-in at that time. Ojogokuraku-in had been separated from Sanzen-in for a while but incorporated into Sanzen-in again when the temple moved in.
How to get to Sanzen-in
One hour by Kyoto Bus No. 17 from Kyoto Station to Ohara Bus Stop, then 10 minutes on foot.
Hours and Admission
8:30-17:00 (8:30-16:30 from December to February)
Click a photo to see a larger image.