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A Snowy Ohara Sanzenin Temple, Kyoto: Video Introduction

This video, titled "[4K] Snowing Sanzenin Temple, Ohara, Kyoto | The Garden of Kyoto Japan" ([4K] 三千院・雪 京都大原 京都の庭園 Sanzenin Temple in Snow [4K] The Garden of Kyoto Japan), was uploaded by "Yurara Sarara." Ohara, hidden in the mountains of Kyoto, is the birthplace of Oharame (大原女, lit. "Woman of Ohara"), women from the town of Ohara who peddled firewood hundreds of years ago in Japan. Once known as a place to spend a secluded life, it's home to many ancient temples. This is where Ohara Sanzenin Temple resides.

In the summer, people can enjoy the fresh greenery of the moss and Japanese maple leaves. But in winter, it changes completely. Everything is covered with snow, and it becomes incredibly quiet and peaceful. Historical buildings like the Kyakuden (客殿, reception hall), Shinden, and Ojo Gokurakuin (Amida Hall) give visitors a glimpse into Japan's wabi-sabi culture. Be sure to check out Ohara Sanzenin Temple during winter in the video!

Senzenin Temple – Religion, Characteristics, and More

Image of Sanzenin Temple, Sakyo, Kyoto
Photo:Sanzenin Temple, Sakyo, Kyoto

Sanzenin Temple is located in Ohara, Kyoto, in Japan's Kansai region. It is a Tendai sect temple started by the Japanese Buddhist monk Dengyo Daishi Saicho. The principal image of the temple is Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru, the Healing Buddha).

It's said that the origin of Sanzenin Temple is Enyu-bo Temple, built on Mt. Hiei around the 8th century. After many transfers, it finally moved to Ohara in 1871. People began calling it "Sanzenin" after it came to Ohara, but originally it was called "Enyu-in" (Enyu-bo) or "Entoku-in."

In the late Heian period (794 - 1185 AD), the imperial family began to live in the temple. Because of this, a member of Japan's imperial family has even been a chief priest of the temple. There are three temples of the Tendai sect (Sanmon school) whose chief priest belonged to Japan's imperial family: Shorenin, Myohoin, and Sanzenin. Sanzenin is the oldest of the three. As an ancient temple which has more than 1,200 years of history, it's a famous spot for travelers.

Must-See Attractions at Sanzenin Temple on the Outskirts of Kyoto

Image of Jizo statues at Sanzenin Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Jizo statues at Sanzenin Temple, Kyoto

Highlights of Ohara Sanzenin Temple include the beautiful gardens, Shuheki-en and Yusei-en. Visitors can enjoy the relaxing views while drinking matcha in the Shoin (study). Through the trees, visitors can spot Ojo Gokurakuin Temple, an Important Cultural Property of Japan.

The statue enshrined at Oujo Gokurakuin Temple is the National Treasure, Amida Sanzon. The image depicts the Amitabha Buddha and others coming to welcome believers from the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss at their time of death. In addition, the ceiling is decorated with extremely vivid paintings to represent Sukhavati, the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss in Buddhism.

Warabe Jizo statues, which can be encountered around the temple grounds, is also popular among visitors. In the video you can see a Warabe Jizo standing in the snow at Ohara Sanzenin Temple.
[Video] 1:34 - "Warabe Jizo" Covered with Snow

At Konjiki Fudo-do, you can receive a shuin stamp of Konjiki Fudo-do (the Hall of the Golden Acala), written with gold paint (limited to every 28th of the month or when the door of Konjiki Fudo-son is opened). The principal image of Ohara Sanzenin Temple is Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru, the Healing Buddha), and so the temple is said to protect against diseases. You can go there to pray for someone you care about.

Autumn Leaves and Hydrangeas… The Seasonal Charms of Sanzenin Temple

Image of autumn leaves at Sanzenin Temple, Kyoto
Photo:Autumn leaves at Sanzenin Temple, Kyoto

At Ohara Sanzenin Temple, visitors can enjoy both snowy landscapes and beautiful scenery in each of Japan's four seasons.

Starting in the middle of June, Ajisai-en, the hydrangea garden, is very popular due to the approximately 1,000 beautifully blooming hydrangeas. Especially popular are the star-shaped "shichidanka" hydrangeas, which are also referred to as "phantom hydrangeas" and are well worth seeing. In the summer, carpets of green moss and blue maple trees adds color to the surrounding area.

In autumn, Ohara Sanzenin Temple is enveloped in beautiful autumn colors, creating a truly photogenic space. The colorful autumn foliage of Ohara Sanzenin Temple has even become famous in Japan. Even now, the temple is crowded with many tourists in autumn.

Admission for all seasons is 700 yen for adults, and an additional 500 yen for those looking to participate in the tea ceremony. It takes about one hour to see everything that Ohara Sanzenin Temple has to offer. Take a leisurely stroll through the temple grounds and enjoy the seasons, and relax with a cup of green tea and traditional Japanese sweets while admiring the beautiful garden.

Summary of Sanzenin Temple, Ohara, Kyoto

Ohara Sanzenin Temple offers both scenic views and a pleasant silence as the snow falls steadily in the crisp winter air. Ohara Sanzenin Temple was also featured in a song by Duke Aces, a Japanese vocal quartet from 50s Japan, which led to the temple gaining in popularity. The nearby area is also full of historical sites for visitors to explore.

Having 1200 years of history, Ohara Sanzenin Temple has seen many events throughout the years. Winter is a mysterious time of year that brings both beauty and a sense of loneliness to people's hearts. Traveling through the bitter cold of winter while reminiscing can lead to wonderful experiences. After a leisurely walk through Sanzenin Temple, consider having lunch outside the temple at one of the restaurants offering seasonal foods such as yuba and yudofu (Japanese tofu dishes). Just don't forget to pick up some souvenirs as well!

◆Tendai Sect Sanzenin Temple, Ohara, Kyoto◆
【Address】540 Ohara-raikoincho, Kyoto Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan 601-1242
【Telephone】075-744-2531
【Hours】9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in November, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. from December to February)
【Admission Fee】Adults: ¥700, junior high and high school students: ¥400, elementary school students: ¥150
【Closures】None
【Access】
By car: At Mano interchange, head towards Tochu. From Tochu, head to Ohara.
By bus: Kyoto Bus Route 17, 19 Get off at Ohara, and walk 10 minutes
【Parking】None ※Please use nearby parking

【Official Website】Tendai Sect Kyoto Ohara Sanzenin Temple

【TripAdvisor】Sanzenin Temple

Written By
Last Updated : Feb. 3, 2023
Japan
サハラ文子(AYAKO SAHARA)
I'm an upcyclist living on the tip of the Boso Peninsula.
Snow Falling Serenely at Ohara Sanzenin Temple in Winter. Discover Summer and Seasonal Highlights at This Peaceful Sanctuary in Kyoto
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