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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.


Guide to Exploring Ryōan-ji


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