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三千院 Sanzen-in Temple

  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
  • Ohara / Kibune Area
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Ohara / Kibune Area
540, Ohara Raikoincho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 601-1242, Japan
  • Buildings (Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals)
Opening Hours
[Mar-Oct]9:00-17:00, [Nov]8:30-17:00, [Dec-Feb]9:00-16:00
Open Every Day
Date of post:2015/04/23

A great treasure in Ohara

  • Temple / Shrine

The Sanzen-in is situated at the foot of a mountain in northeast Ohara. Ohara is a calm rural area in northeast Kyoto. It takes more than 30 minutes by car from urban area to the place. But it is in Sakyo ward and a part of Kyoto city. If you go to Ohara by bus, you have to walk and climb up the path to the Sanzen-in from the parking lot. It is a tiring but a pleasant rural path. You can enjoy the scenery of Ohara and shopping at some shops along the path.

The main gate with stone steps will welcome you in front of several souvenir shops and restaurants. After the entrance you will come to a room with a garden. This garden is called Shuheki-en and was created by Kanamori Sowa, a tea master, in the Edo period, revising the natural scene. It represents the beauty of nature.

You have to follow a maze like corridor to the Shin-den. From there you can see the Ojo Gokuraku-in in a garden named Yusei-en. Before you visit the building through the garden, please take some steps on the outside corridor of the Shin-den to take a look at the garden and the building from the left side. There you can appreciate the beauty of tree trunks and the Ojo Gokuraku-in, which means the house to reborn in Paradise. This Ojo Gokuraku-in is the main purpose to visit the Sanzen-in. It is a rather small building and that is the reason the ceiling is shaped like a boat upside-down. This shape was adopted to contain the rather large statues inside. The statues are Amida Triad.

The temple is originated in the 8th century as a minor temple of the Enryaku-ji. It has moved many times to other places and finally to the present place in 1871 with the building of Ojo Gokuraku-in, which was built in the Heian period at another place of Ohara.

You can roam around other gardens and buildings.

When you get out of the west gate you will find a small museum. There you can see the replica of the boat shaped ceiling with the brilliant colours replaced.

If you have enough time, I recommend you to spend some time to enjoy the beauty of Ohara itself.

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