When you imagine traveling around Japan, images of trains inevitably arise. And yes, you can get to many of Japan’s most famous sites easily by train. However, some truly beautiful locations can be easily reached only by bus or car. Sanzen-in is one of those places.
Sanzen-in is a lush, moss-covered temple complex in Ohara, about an hour north of Kyoto by bus. The winding pathways through the garden lead visitors to many interesting things. In the garden you can find cute stone Warabe-jizo statues, a small pond, and more as you make your way to the various temples.
It was founded in 804 by Saicho, the man who introduced Tendai Buddhism to Japan. One of the major features of modern Japanese Buddhism, Shomyo (Japanese sutra chanting) also began here. Furthermore, its status as one of the five monzeki temples in Japan marks it apart from other temples. A monzeki is a Buddhist priest from an aristocratic family; the temples they served in are known as monzeki temples. This one in particular has had head priests from the Imperial family.
Sanzen-in has five goshuin that you can receive:
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