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Ohara, the rural glimpse of Japan


9 July 2008

For a last day in Kyoto we had a plan to go outside of the town. The local tourist information center suggested visit Ohara, a village north of Kyoto in order to get a glimpse of rural life. Although we had to check out, the hotel kept our luggage whole day, which made it very convenient to spend the day in Kyoto.

We took a bus number 17 from Kyoto station to Ohara. The bus leaves in every 20 minutes. A bus drove an hour for 580 Yen ticket to Ohara bus station. From bus station we followed the walking map and found a Sanzen-in temple. The entrance fee was 700 yen, the highest we paid for entrance to temples.

Sanzen-In temple is founded at 784. Sanzen-In's principal object of worship is a golden statue of the Amida Buddha. The temple possesses two seventeenth-century pond gardens of great beauty: the Shuheki-en Garden ("Garden that Gathers Green") and the Yusei-en Garden ("Garden of Pure Presence"). The gardens of Sanzen-In were most beautiful gardens we saw in Japan, really worth of visiting.

The hiking in Ohara was great, really peaceful area with rice fields and rural atmosphere. There are plenty of opportunities to buy local food snacks or souvenirs. There is an other big temple Jakko-In also in the area, but we did not visit.

After driving back to Kyoto we had an idea to buy some souvenirs and we went to do that in the big sopping mall in Kyoto station. There were two options - Isetan and Porta. Isetan is very modern department store in the Kyoto Station building. It has 13 floors, including a restaurant floor, a cosmetics floor, an amusement arcade and an art gallery. Isetan department store had high-end brandnames (what you can everywhere in the World). Porta is located at the beneath of the station area. The brands sold here were unfamiliar to us. Porta has a good selection of different caffees and restaurants. We did not find good souvenirshop here. We bought home sushi dishes from Isetan.

At 6 o’clock we took the shinkansen to Nagoya. It took only 30 minutes without any stops and we already arrived in Nagoya station. We decided that we do not want to go to our airport hotel early. So we visited some electronics and manga souvenir shop just opposite to the central entrance of Nagoya station. The electronics shop and Bic Camera store were really good shops with many items with reasonable prices.

Then it was time for the train and it came out that JR pass is not good for Meitetsu line going to the airport. So, we needed to buy tickets for 1200 Yen each. But we did not have 2400 Yen cash any more. Payment with credit card was not possible, so we needed the ATM. Nearest ATM did not approve any card we had. We spent almost an hour to find a proper ATM, but finally we had cash and then we had our last ride at Japanese railway.

We have booked Comfort Inn in Nagoya airport. This was a very good choice - it is connected to airport with walkways (we used airport trolley until our room door ), rooms are spacious, free Wifi is available and if you do not have the computer you can rent one for 500 yen (24h). If 14 000 yen for double room is okay price for you, this should be a choice near the airport. For us Comfort Inn was a good option, because after a good sleep and breakfast we had to go to check inn, our plane left Nagoya at 11 AM at 10 July.

The trip to Japan was really memorable, full of sightseeing and glimpses of Japanese culture.