Otonashi Falls, Ohara, Kyoto 音無の滝
Otonashi Falls (“Sound-less Falls”) in the Ohara district of north east Kyoto is a small waterfall with an ancient legend as back story.
Many of the temples in Ohara are connected with the practice of shomyo or Buddhist chanting. It was the priest Ennin (aka Jikaku Daishi; 794-864) who introduced shomyo to Japan, following his visit to China from 838-847.
According to the story Ennin would chant at the base of the falls and put a spell on them to keep them quiet. In another version of the same tale, he re-arranged the shape of the boulder over which the water cascades to soften the sound.
The falls do actually make a noise which you can hear in the video below.
The waterfall is at the end of the trail that passes both Jorenge-in Temple and Raigo-in Temple. Turn to the left as you exit Sanzen-in Temple and left again at the small Ro River. This path leads up to the waterfall.
The delightful Sanzen-in Temple is the main reason people come to this area of Kyoto. It is also well-known for its autumn leaves.
Access – Getting There
To get to Ohara from Kyoto city take a Kyoto bus #17 (white color) from Kyoto Station to the Ohara bus stop and then walk about 10 minutes.
Alternatively, take an Eiden Line train from Demachiyanagi Station at the end of the Keihan Line from Osaka to Yase-Hieizanguchi Station and then change to bus #19. You can also get on bus #19 at Kokusaikaikan Station on the Kurasama Line of the Kyoto subway.
Ohara is outside the area covered by the 1-day Kyoto bus pass.