Ryoan-ji Temple - Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is famous for its Zen garden. Ryoan-ji Temple is considered to be one of the most notable examples of the "dry-landscape" style.

Ryoan-ji Temple was established in 1450 by the order of Hosokawa Katsumoto. Ryoanji Temple is a Zen temple which is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Rock Garden, a form of Japanese garden, in Ryoanji Temple is the quintessence of Zen art, and perhaps the greatest masterpiece of Japanese culture. There are fifteen rocks arranged on a white gravel within a space of 248 square meters. That’s all. No trees or ponds. It is called ‘Karesansui Garden’. Karesansui Garden is a style which depicts beauty of nature such as ocean, river, islands or mountains using only gravel and rocks but not trees or ponds.

See also Japanese temple.

Ryoan-ji Temple

Ryoan-ji Temple

It is not known when and who created this famous Japanese garden. With its simplicity, this garden rouses its viewer’s own interpretation and imagination. Can you see the islands in the ocean? Or mountain peaks in a sea of clouds? Or a tiger carrying her cubs across the river? Queen Elizabeth II visited this Ryoanji Temple garden in 1975 and praised it a great deal.

Ryoan-ji Temple

Ryoan-ji Temple

Behind the temple, there is a stone washbasin called ‘Tsukubai’. It bears a simple but profound four-character inscription: "I learn only to be contented".

Open: 8am – 5pm (Mar-Nov), 8.30am-4.30pm (Dec-Feb), 7 days a week
Admission: 500 yen





Places to visit

JR Kyoto

Kyoto City Bus #101 or 205

37 min



Kyoto City Bus #59

6 min




1 min

Ryoanji Temple



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