Tucked away in the rural village of Ohara in the northeast mountains of Kyoto, Jikko-in Temple is known for its gardens, which are particularly lovely in autumn.
Home to a very rare type of cherry blossom which blooms in the fall
The tatami rooms contains an array of chanting implements
Entry includes sweets and a cup of sweet matcha
It can be accessible by bus then on foot.
To get to Ohara from Kyoto Station, you can catch bus #17 to Ohara. The bus stops at Demachiyanagi Station, so you may want to take the Keihan Line to Demachiyanagi and catch the bus from there. It’s a 40-minute ride to Ohara.
Once there, it's a 10-minute walk from the bus stop to the main street of the village, off of which Jikko-in is located.
Jikko-in was originally founded as a monk’s quarters in affiliation with nearby Shorin-in Temple.
Shorin-in was revitalized by the Buddhist monk Jakugen in 1013. He is known for bringing shomyo, or Tendai Buddhist chanting, to Japan from China. Thus Jikko-in is indelibly linked to this style of music.
In 1919, Jikko-in was relocated to its current site from nearby. Rebuilt in 1921, the Kyakuden, or guest hall, displays paintings from the Edo Period (1603-1867) by the renowned Kano School. The tatami room contains bells and other instruments used for chanting. You can sit in the hall and eat a Japanese sweet with a cup of matcha, the cost of which is included in the ticket price.
The Keishin-en Garden was created in the later years of the 1920s. The highlight is the koi pond and fountain. It is fed by the nearby Ritsu River and is in the shape of the kanji, or Chinese character, for heart.
Each natural element in the pond area means something different. The rocks by the waterfall symbolize the sacred mountain of Horai in China; the pine tree overlooking the water represents a crane. A small island in the middle of the pond symbolizes a tortoise. In Japanese mythology, the crane and tortoise are both synonymous with happiness and longevity.
Below the temple is a stroll garden, built after Keishin-en. It also features a pond, rocks, and a tea house. Stone lanterns and small stone pagodas add artistic touches to the serene atmosphere.
This garden is home to a rare type of cherry tree that blooms in autumn, peaking in November. It is perhaps the only place where you can see Japan’s famous cherry blossoms and autumn leaves at the same time.
Admission: ¥700 (green tea and sweet included)
Hours: 9:00a.m. – 4:00p.m.