You can make a half day in Ohara worth it.
Or, if you want to dedicate a whole day to Ohara, you can also make that worth it too.
There are a few temples you can visit, and there are also a number of shops and restaurants you can stop at to further enjoy your day out away from the crowds in Kyoto.
Be ready for lots of walking – consider it a village culture walk!
First, the quick list of what a half day in Ohara can look like.
Then, some more pictures to see if a trip to Ohara is something you want to do!
Things to do in Ohara
1. Walk from Ohara bus station to Sanzen-in Temple
2. Visit Sanzen-in Temple
3. Walk from Sanzen-in Temple to Jakko-in Temple
4. Visit Jakko-in Temple
5. Walk from Jakko-in Temple to Ohara bus station
Japanese language tip
The o in Ohara is more of a long o, and you’ll place emphasis on it too.
So it’s more like oo-ha-ra. (The o is still pronounced kinda of like “oh” though, just make it long, like ohhh.)
Which direction to go?!
There are some signs with English on them, but then you’ll also comes across some in Ohara without English too.
Consider making sure that you know the Japanese writing of the places you’ll be going so that you’ll be able to confirm you’re going in the right direction.
It could be as simple as looking at Google Maps, as it will generally have both the English and Japanese. You might consider making a screenshot of the places on your phone for easy access.
For the top attractions around Kyoto, you’ll likely see English all around.
But for Ohara, as there are many signs with no English, you can also take this as an indication that you really are going to a place that gets less foreign tourists!
Ohara as part of one day Kyoto itinerary
I made a visit to Ohara as a part of a day trip to Kurama, Kibune, and Ohara with a one day pass:
- Kyoto station to Kurama
- Visit to Kurama-dera Temple
- Kurama to Kibune hike
- Visit to Kifune Shrine
- Kibune to Ohara bus
- Visit to Sanzen-in Temple
- Visit to Jakko-in Temple
- Ohara to Kyoto bus
Ohara can make for an easy day trip from Kyoto as it’s easy to access by public transportation.
But if you’re looking for a bit of a unique experience when you’re in Japan, you may also consider staying a night in the quiet village of Ohara.
The accommodation options are limited, but one of your options is to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan or minshuku, which can give you feeling like it’s a traditional Japanese stay.
Staying at the Ohara onsen isn’t as popular as the Kumara onsen, but there’s still a good chance that you will love the experience with a hot spring bath.
Put in “Ohara minshuku” below (partner website) along with your travel dates (or any future date) to see more about this place!
Here’s what your day trip to Ohara might look like!
Emphasis on MIGHT. 😉
I’m pretty sure for one part I didn’t go the shortest path. I must have taken a wrong turn or missed a turn or something.
If this happens to you too, no problem – just consider it a part of your Japan adventure! 😉
Really though, Ohara isn’t that big, so even if you get lost, it won’t be too big of a deal. It will just mean more walking on the small streets of Ohara with mountain views!
Kyoto station to Ohara bus station
Being on the outskirts of Kyoto means that it might take some time to get to Ohara.
When you include waiting time and time in transit, it might take you 1-1.5 hours to get from Kyoto station to Ohara, although it’s possible that you might get there in less than an hour if your timing is right.
Consult Google Maps for the best way to get to the Ohara bus station from where you’re staying.
It will likely include a bus transfer.
See tips for getting around Kyoto by bus (even without a bus pass).
Walk from Ohara bus station to Sanzen-in Temple
Once you arrive at the Ohara bus station, you’ll see signs that point to Sanzen-in Temple.
So to start with, you can follow those signs!
It’ll probably be about a 15 minute walk to get to the temple.
You might also find a map at the bus station with both the English and Japanese of the top places to visit in Ohara, and you might consider taking a picture of that so you can recognize the Japanese writing when you come across those no English signs!
Visit Sanzen-in Temple
Cost: 700 yen (US$6)
You can make a visit to Sanzen-in Temple short, but you’ll likely be here for at least an hour.
You can spend time wandering the temple grounds, walking through Japanese gardens, and having a look at the little stone statues throughout the area.
Walk from Sanzen-in Temple to Jakko-in Temple
If you were to walk straight from Sanzen-in Temple to Jakko-in Temple, it might take you around 30 minutes.
But you might want to make some stops along the way, so it might end up taking you a bit longer!
Foot bath cafe
Visit to Jakko-in Temple
Cost: 600 yen (US$5)
Once you’re at Jakko-in Temple, you might end up spending 30 minutes here.
Walk from Jakko-in Temple to Ohara bus station
And then your final walk through Ohara!
This might be around a 20 minute walk.
HAPPY DAY TRIP TO OHARA!
Use this Kyoto tourist map to plan out your 5 days in Kyoto with Ohara!
- Day 1: Top tourist spots with one day bus pass
- Day 2: Fushimi Inari Shrine hike through 1,000 torii gates
- Day 3: Philosopher’s Path
- Day 4: Arashiyama and Sagano
- Day 5: Kurama Kibune Ohara with one day pass
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
For more on planning your trip to Kyoto, see the 1-day, 2-day, and 5-day Kyoto itineraries. If you'll be in Kyoto in the spring, also see the 1-day cherry blossom photo walk.
Hotels in KyotoSearch for deals on Kyoto hotels here.
For hostels across Japan, try this top backpacker's hostel chain.
Kyoto can also be a good place to stay at a Japanese-style ryokan, like this one. Or if you're on more of a budget, try this one.
Also use the map below to see more hotels in Kyoto!
The super fast train in JapanIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it.
See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
See an example of traveling by the fast train from Tokyo to Kyoto.
NEW way of buying individual shinkansen train tickets online!I will start by saying I have NOT bought train tickets online this way (yet!) to verify this! (But it's on my list for my next trip to Japan!)
There's an online train ticket booking method that's popular for other parts of Asia, and they are just now branching out to Japan.
You can now buy train tickets online here for popular shinkansen train routes. (And some bus routes too.)
I've used this booking site for taking the train from Thailand to Malaysia, and it worked out well, so I would expect it to work out well in Japan too!
The thing is, though, that you need to pick up the physical train tickets in person.
So it won't be enough to just buy the tickets online. I had to do this in Bangkok for my train ticket - and it was easy! So again, I would think it'd be easy for Japan train tickets too.
Search for popular routes in Japan here. For example, Tokyo to Kyoto.
If you end up buying train tickets online this way, I would love to hear how it goes! Whether that's good, or if it came with some challenges!
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon.
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
Best travel guides for JapanIf you're at step 1 in your planning process, have a look at this Discover Japan book.
For "books" that won't take up space in your suitcase, see the best PDF guides.
See more of the best books for Japan trip planning.
Create your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan