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Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto

4.1
#9 of 696 in Historic Sites in Kyoto
Religious Site · Tourist Spot
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With a history spanning over five centuries, Ryoanji Temple boasts probably the nation's most iconic rock garden. Founded in 1450, the temple stands atop an even older aristocrat's residence. The garden notably features 15 rocks of varying sizes and shapes spread out across the surface, each surrounded by a small patch of moss. Think about the mysterious symbolism of the garden, which features a design that obscures at least one rock from view from all angles. Afterwards, wander the extensive temple grounds, which boast a number of walking trails, shrines, flowering trees, and a pond. Wrap up you visit with a quick meal at the onsite cafe. Plan to see Ryoanji Temple and other attractions that appeal to you using our Kyoto trip planner.
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Ryoanji Temple reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
2,596 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • I wouldn't consider myself a particularly spiritual person, but I do recall our visit to the Ryoan-Ji Temple and its main attraction the Zen rock garden quite vividly. It was a mix of irony, awe and.....  more
    I wouldn't consider myself a particularly spiritual person, but I do recall our visit to the Ryoan-Ji Temple and its main attraction the Zen rock garden quite vividly. It was a mix of irony, awe and.....  more »
  • A beautiful temple in lovely condition with many interesting artifacts. The garden is a supreme example of the traditional Japanese Garden. Both are great for photography. 
    A beautiful temple in lovely condition with many interesting artifacts. The garden is a supreme example of the traditional Japanese Garden. Both are great for photography.  more »
Google
  • The zen sand garden is really soothing and we stayed there for an hour. Just enjoyed observing it. There are 15 rocks in the garden, but one can see only 14 of them at the time from any angle (I tried and verified it!) I find it profound. It may be a message that there’s always something I can’t see no matter how hard I try. Or we need multiple perspectives to fully understand the world.
  • Top-tier location among a competitive field of World Heritage sites in Kyoto. Free bike parking, amazing garden with 100+ acres associated with the grounds, and a beautiful zen garden. The souvenirs shop by the garden has unique items I’ve never seen before and is reasonably priced. A top spot to visit and significantly less crowded than other, more well known, sites.

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