foggy day in ohara


Ohara is a small mountain village an hour north of Kyoto.

I come here on a rainy, foggy morning.

It is cold, but I still enjoy my hike to the Jakko-in temple.

Rice paddies and scarecrows on the way: 

A bird house here and there: 

And people going about their morning -- sweeping sidewalks, walking their dogs, getting ready to start the day.  

Jakko-in -- my destination -- is a small Zen nunnery.

The gates are still closed when I arrive. 


Jakko-in is often said to have been founded by Prince Shotoku in 594, but no reliable record supports this attribution.  

It is certain however, that Kenrei-mon-in (1155-1213) a daughter of a great Buddhist minister and a widow of the 80th emperor, entered the monastery and became its head priestess in 1185.


The circumstances of her decisions were sad: the entire family, including an infant emperor, have been slaughtered during a very bloody battle between the Taira and Minamoto clans. 


Kenrei-mon-in, who spent the rest of her life in prayer and solitude, died in Jakko-in in 1213.

Her tomb is located near the nunnery.  





The temple's miniature garden, which includes a small pond and a tea house, feels intimate and peaceful. 

I stay for a while listening to the small water fall behind the Hondo (main hall). 

The sun comes out.