Only a short train journey away from Kyoto Ohara is a hidden gem unknown to most foreign visitors. Renowned for Sanzenin Temple this small mountain town gives a great insight into a more rural Japan and shows its beauty especially during autumn leave season.
The small village of Ohara's main draw is Sanzen-in, a large temple complex built at the beginning of the Heian Period (794-1185) by the monk Saicho who founded the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Among the temple grounds are two beautiful gardens, Juheki-en and Yusei-en famous for their lush green moss. The winding street up to the temple is home to quaint tea houses and craft shops set among the paddy fields. Despite it's proximity to Kyoto, Ohara is little visited by Westerners and therefore offers a fascinating glimpse into rural Kyoto life.