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Ryoanji Temple

Features such as one of the most famous rock gardens in the country and a placid pond with charming islands distinguish this temple from others in the city.

The Ryoanji Temple is famous throughout the country for its rock garden. Tourists make their way to the site to marvel at its simplistic design and clever features. It is also distinct from many other temples because of its large pond with little islands in the middle. There is a restaurant that serves a Japanese specialty. Artwork on sliding doors fills the rooms of the main hall.

Enjoy one of the best rock gardens in Japan. The area is rectangular and contains 15 large rocks lying on mossy beds. A curious facet is that due to its layout at least one rock will always be hidden from view no matter where you stand. There are many disputed meanings behind the garden.

Appreciate the typical Japanese paintings on sliding doors in some of the rooms of the Hojo, the priest’s former residence. Behind the building are charming gardens. Head to the large pond in the expansive park area. Cross the bridge to an island with a shrine. Walk in the midst of peaceful nature along the complex’s trails. Try Koyoto’s specialty, yodufu (boiled tofu), at its restaurant. Enjoy the view of the gardens while you eat.

In the 11th century, the Fujiwara family lived in the complex. It was converted into a Zen Buddhism temple in 1450. It remains open to the public year-round in the daytime. There are fewer crowds earlier on, and there is an admission fee.

The Ryoanji Temple is in the north of the city. Take the JR bus directly from Kyoto Station in the city center. Kinkaku-ji is 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) away. You can also take a bus to the temple from there. The Ryoan-ji-michi station is a few minutes from the complex on foot. It is accessible via the Keifuku Kitano Line.

Make the most of your time at Ryoanji Temple. Below is a list of some of the best activities:

Want to know what else there is to do at this much-loved attraction? Our suggestion would be buying a Customizable Tour of Kyoto by Private Car.

If you're chasing more activities, peruse our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Ryōan-ji


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M's INN SANJO OMIYA P2,288
M's INN SANJO OMIYA

M's INN SANJO OMIYA

     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Shijo Omiya and Nijō Castle. Nishiki Market and Kawaramachi are also within 1 mile (2 km). Nijojo-mae Station is 7 minutes by foot and Kyoto Omiya Station is 7 minutes.

    Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji P5,090
    Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji

    Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji

       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Kyoto, this guesthouse is within 1 mile (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū, Ryōan-ji and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 miles (5 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 12 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 17 minutes.

      Ryokan Yamazaki P3,111
      Ryokan Yamazaki

      Ryokan Yamazaki

      11 Takahana-cho Umegahata Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in the suburbs, this ryokan is 1.9 mi (3 km) from Ryōan-ji and 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Togetsukyo Bridge. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Utano Station is 21 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 23 minutes.

        LeBlanc Pension Utano P3,851
        LeBlanc Pension Utano

        LeBlanc Pension Utano

        110-5 narutakihonmachi, Ukyo ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Kyoto, this hotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Ryōan-ji and 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kyoto Utano Station is 5 minutes by foot and Kyoto Narutaki Station is 7 minutes.

          Samurai Hotel Yaezakura P8,006
          Samurai Hotel Yaezakura

          Samurai Hotel Yaezakura

             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Kyoto, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū, Ryōan-ji, and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 miles (5 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 15 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 20 minutes.

            OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho P2,370
            OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho

            OYO 44341 JAPANING HOTEL Kitanohakubaicho

               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Kyoto, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū, Ryōan-ji and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is only a 3-minute walk and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 9 minutes.

              Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel P2,859
              Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel

              Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel

              10-2, Kaidocho, Kinugasa, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Kyoto, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kinkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji. Genkoan and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 17 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 23 minutes.

                Kitano Tenmangu P4,448
                Kitano Tenmangu

                Kitano Tenmangu

                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Nishijin, this holiday home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Ryōan-ji and Doshisha University are also within 2 miles (3 km). Kyoto Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tojiin Station is 18 minutes.