Saturday, December 17, 2016

Visiting Ohara in Kyoto—Personal Experience

On 11/29/2016, I have visited Ohara in Kyoto's suburb, where the famous Venetia in the 春を呼ぶ水仙 (in Japanese) broadcast has lived for a decade.

Before my visit, I have done some research and written the following article:
Kyoto Travel—Visiting Ohara for Autumn Colors and Moss Garden
It turns out that the visit of Ohara is the most memorable day of my 12-day visit of Japan.  Here I will document what I have experienced on that day.

First-Time Experiences

Before the visit of Ohara, I have chosen a beautiful Japanese house from Airbnb to stay overnight, which locates close to Ohara.  This decision turns out to be an excellent choice.  The bedroom of the house is the traditional Japanese tatami room, which was the one I have grown up with back in Taiwan.  This has brought back lots of childhood memories.

In the morning, the host has also offered guests breakfast which it turned out to be the traditional Japanese breakfast.  Eating warm and delicious dishes, my eyes were also awarded the nice view of her beautiful garden through the kitchen door.

After the breakfast, I have asked the instructions of where to and how to take the bus from the host's house to Ohara, which was my first time of boarding a local bus in Japan(see a later article for this).

Jakko-in Temple

After arriving Ohara Bus Terminal, I have taken the scenic trail directly to Jakko-in Temple (寂光院) which is a small temple famous for its autumn colors and water garden.  The distance to Jakko-in Temple is a bit farther from Bus Terminal. But, it is worthwhile.  Along the trail, you can enjoy the view of farm fields with mountains in the background, old town area with shops, restaurants, and ryokans,

Outdoor Onsen Experience

Before my trip, I have also booked a day-trip onsen package which includes a day-trip onsen (time: 11:30am to 4pm) and a nice nabe for lunch.  This Ryokan's onsen sits outdoors among forest.  At the time of my visit, the tree above the onsen (see the tub in the picture) has just turned yellow and its leaves drifted down gracefully into the bath.  Relaxed in the hot bath and submerged in the vibrant autumn colors while lying there alone by myself is the utmost enjoyment beyond words.

Moss Garden

In Japanology's video "moss", it has introduced Saiho-ji temple (西芳寺) — a Buddhist temple with famed moss garden. 
 However, you cannot visit it without advance reservation and satisfying preconditions (see here). Then, Sanzen-in Temple (三千院) could be a good alternative for you to visit a moss garden
So I've described in [1].  Surely enough, Sanzen-in Temple did offer tranquil views of its moss gardens under age-old trees.  Visiting it, you definitively will be charmed by its serenity that cannot be found from other over-crowed temples in Kyoto.

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