A lovely piece of land Ohara in the north of Sakyoku at the western foot of the Mt. Hieizan puts obstacles in tourists' way out by groups of charming Oharame, a female peddler dressed in indigo kimono and white gloves with brushwood, firewood and flowers on her head with a towel walking along the streets running out over Kyoto city. The area is the home of the way of Buddhist hymnal chanting Tendai Shomyo and a mecca for its believers. Hiding in beautiful Ohara village, Sanzenin is the main attraction, famous for the guardian deity of children Jizo. Sanzenin was built in the late 8th century, about 784 or later, by Saicho Aka, the founder of Tendai Buddhism, the founder of Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei. The temple was rebuilt in 860 by the priest Joun on the orders of Emperor Seiwa. Along with Bishamondo, Manshuin, Myohoin, and Shorenin temples, Sanzenin is one of five Monzeki Temples in Kyoto which members of the Imperial family traditionally served as head priests. The temple has overcome a history of 32 chief priests from the imperial family.
The main light of Sanzenin seems to be Ojo Gokurakuin, a typical example of austere architecture with one storied building, a gabled, hipped and shingled roof, bringing the name meaning Temple of Rebirth in Paradise. The building was built in 985 by the Tendai priest Enshin then rebuilt in 1148, joined with the imperial temple. It is said that Enshin built Ojo together with his sister Anyoni in memory the souls of their parents. By now, the building enshrines a statue of Amida with two kneeling attendants, Kannon on the right and Seishi on the left, under the hollowed ceiling covering walls decorated with a depiction of a colorful heavenly garden.
The Guest Hall Kyakuden used to be the residence of the abbots, housing many treasures on display in its tatami rooms including painted screens, ancient texts and decorated sliding doors painted by several Japanese great artists including Suzuki Shonen and Takeuchi Seiho. Some people enjoy standing at Kyakuden to eavesdrop on the priest's sermon or admire the beauty of Shuhekien Garden. An other establishment, Shinden with a boat shaped ceiling decorated with mandalas painted by Enshin, houses images of the Amitabha Buddha, Guze Kannon and Fudo Myoo. Memorial services have long been held by the chief priest here inside Shinden on May 30th every year. Other important buildings at Sanzenin are Kannondo Hall, Konjiki Fudodo Hall and the Homotsukan Hall Enyuzo.
Two beautiful gardens called Juhekien and Yuseien of Sanzenin temple are famous for beautiful cherry blossoms, autumn leaves and moss, said to be the best sights in the Rakuhoku area of Kyoto. Dotted in the carpet of moss of Yuseien garden, cryptomeria, maple trees, azaleas and stone bordered and carp-filled pond stay side by side. Paying more attention, you can catch little stone statues of Jizo, the protector of children and souls in limbo, smiling in the comfortable scent of wet moss. In rainy season, more than 1000 hydrangea blossoms will bloom over the garden.