Stroll around a mountain village where nature and history abound.
This 8-hour guided tour takes you to Ohara, a quiet mountain village a short distance from the city center of Kyoto. You will enjoy a leisurely stroll through the rural scenery and explore Ohara's historical and natural attractions. Since Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan, Ohara was an ideal place for nobles to go to forget of the glittering city life and retreat in search of peace and quiet. As a result, Ohara has many spots where you can enjoy the elegance of historical buildings combined with the natural beauty of the four seasons. Surrounded by beautiful mountains on all sides, the tranquil mountain village scenery still remains and fascinates many people. Have a peaceful time savoring the historical atmosphere typical of Kyoto and its verdant and lush nature.
① Pickup from your hotel in Kyoto city
Your guide will meet you at your hotel in Kyoto city and escort you to Ohara by local bus.
② Ohara Sanzenin Temple
Ohara Sanzenin Temple was built 1,200 years ago by Saicho, an ambassador of Buddhism, and has been presided over by the prince and members of the imperial family for generations. Many valuable temple treasures and cultural assets can be seen here, including the Sanzonzo statue, designated as a National Treasure. On the temple grounds, there are two famous gardens called "Shuheki- en" and "Yusei-en," that a famous novelist called "jewels of the Orient”. You can enjoy the tranquil scenery throughout the seasons: cherry blossoms in spring, fresh greenery in summer, autumn leaves in fall, and a blanket of snow in winter. The small and cute Jizo (stone statues) seen dotted throughout the moss-covered gardens are also soothing.
③ Shorin-in Temple
Shorinin Temple was built 1,000 years ago. It is famous for thefact that Honen, the founder of the Jodo sect of Buddhism, held the Ohara Mondo, where he discussed and answered questions about the doctrine of the Pure Land Nembutsu with the learned priests. It is also known as the birthplace of Buddhist music Shomyo. Shomyo is ceremonial music with rhythms and intonations added to Buddhist scriptures to convey Buddhist teachings to people, and is said to be the origin of Japanese songs of later generations. Shomyo echoes as you enter the main hall, allowing you to experience the atmosphere of the Buddhist world.
④ Hosen-in Temple
The main attraction of Hosenin is the framed garden through which visitors view the garden by using the pillars and Kamoi gate as picture frames. The 700-year-old pine trees and bamboo grove seen from inside the room are as beautiful as a picture in a frame, and the elegant sound of the suikinkutsu (water harp) attracts many visitors. You can admire the beautiful garden while enjoying a matcha green tea and traditional sweets.
⑤ Lunch at Kirin
Lunch time in an old private house surrounded by beautiful mountains. You can enjoy a variety of handmade rice balls and buffet-style obanzai made from a wide variety of local organic vegetables. The fresh vegetables from Ohara are becoming increasingly popular among famous chefs in Kyoto. The café also has a wonderful view of the town’s nature. This restaurant is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Head to Jakko-in Temple with a view of the peaceful countryside of Ohara.
⑥ Jakko-in Temple
Jakkoin Temple was built by Prince Shotoku 1,500 years ago and is known as a nunnery where women have served as chief priests for generations. The temple grounds have a quiet and serene atmosphere, and the cherry blossoms in spring and the autumn leaves in fall are so beautiful that they were even included in a waka poem in the Tale of the Heike. Noblemen and ascetic practitioners used to go to Jakkoin for a retreat as it is said to be very tranquil and relaxing.
⑦ Tour ends at your hotel
The tour will end with a local bus ride back to your hotel in Kyoto City.
・Experience the beautiful Satoyama scenery in each season, from rapeseed blossoms and fresh greenery in spring to autumn leaves in late fall.
・Soak in the startling green moss of Yusei-in at Sanzen-in Temple
・Historic temples such as Sanzen-in Temple, Jakko-in Temple, and Shorin-in Temple are scattered throughout the natural surroundings.
・The view of terraced rice paddies spreading out below you from your hillside vantage point
・Shopping for Ohara specialties at a long-established pickle store on the approach to Jakkoin Temple.
¥26,400 for a private tour for 1 person
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