POINTS OF INTEREST
Set in the rural village of Ohara, northeast of the city, this Tendai sect temple was founded by the priest Dengyo-Daishi (767–822), also known as Saicho. The approach is up steep stone steps and onto the temple grounds. Tall cypress trees admit spots of sunlight onto the moss-and fern ground cover. The most famous building, constructed in 985, houses a huge image of Amida Buddha. On either side are images of Seishi and Kannon. The convex ceiling is painted with scenes of paradise, but with the passing of the centuries, these paintings of the descent of Amida, accompanied by 25 bodhisattvas, to welcome the believer are fading. Famed for its maples, the temple draws its largest crowds in autumn, but the grounds north of the main buildings have been planted with hundreds of hydrangea bushes, in bloom throughout June.