A tranquil temple, reached by a scenic walk through the traditional village of Ohara
Jakko-in Temple, located in Ohara, a rural town in the mountains north of Kyoto City, about one hour from central Kyoto. Ohara is best known for Sanzen-in Temple, and the fall foliage season in mid-November.
Jakko-in was founded in 594 by Prince Shotoku as a memorial for his father, Emperor Yomei and is noted for having served as the nunnery of a former empress Kenreimonin.
After being defeated in the Battle of Dannoura, Kenreimonin was unexpectedly saved and returned to Kyoto, but left her hometown to live in seclusion in Ohara. Kenreimonin lived in a small residence deep in the mountains of Ohara, where she spent the rest of her life quietly mourning for the Taira clan. A stone monument stands at the site of Kenreimonin’s residence on the west side of the temple grounds. Next to it are the remains of a well that is believed to have been used at that time.
A long stairway leads up to the temple gate, which is especially picturesque in the autumn and the spring with cherry blossoms. The main hall and the former main sanctuary were destroyed by fire in 2000. The present main hall and main image were restored five years later. The old main image was severely damaged and is usually kept in a storage room, but is specially displayed only twice a year. The old main image contained more than 3,000 small statues of Jizo (guardian of children). All of these survived the fire, and a few are on display in the sanctuary.
Awanishi, who served as the maid of honor to Kenreimonin, is said to have been a role model for the women of Ohara. At a time when there was neither electricity nor gas, Ohara women walked the streets of Kyoto with large pieces of firewood and kindling on their heads. Women’s clothing at that time was modeled after the everyday clothes of Awa Nonoichi, which has changed somewhat over time. Another local dish of Ohara, Kyoto-style chopped vegetables pickled with red shiso, originated when local people presented Kenreimonin with salted eggplants and other summer vegetables and red shiso, which they called “purple leaf pickles.”
Address : 676 Oharakusaocho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, 601-1248
Access : 20-minute walk from Ohara Bus Stop, Kyoto Bus 17 from Kyoto Station, or Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan line
Admission : 600 yen
Hours : 9:00 to 17:00