Jikkoin Temple 実光院

Jikko-in Temple
Jikko-in Temple

A wonderful garden oasis, with cherry blossoms in the fall

Tucked away in the rural village of Ohara in the northeast mountains of Kyoto, Jikkoin Temple is known for its gardens, which are particularly lovely in autumn.

Quick Facts

Home to a very rare type of cherry blossom which blooms in the fall

The tatami rooms contains an array of chanting implements

The entry fee includes sweets and a cup of sweet matcha

How to Get There

Jikkoin can be reached by bus and then on foot.

To get to Ohara from Kyoto Station , 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 Jikkoin is located.

Buddhist chanting

Jikkoin was founded initially as monks' quarters in affiliation with nearby Shorinin Temple.

Shorinin was revitalized by the Buddhist monk Jakugen in 1013. He is known for bringing shomyo, or Tendai Buddhist chanting, to Japan from China. Thus Jikkoin is indelibly linked to this style of music.

Drink matcha in the hall

In 1919, Jikkoin was relocated to its current site. 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 heart is obvious

Keishin Garden was created in the latter years of the 1920s. The highlight is the koi pond and fountain, which is fed by the nearby Ritsu River and is in the shape of the 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.

Sakura in the fall

Below the temple is a stroll garden, built after Keishin Garden. It also features a pond, rocks, and a teahouse. 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.

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