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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
2,597 reviews
Google
4.4
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful and meditative experience. You can sit quietly and regard the garden. Cute and shaded place to sit and drink tea and eat ice cream right outside the gates of the temple grounds. 
    Beautiful and meditative experience. You can sit quietly and regard the garden. Cute and shaded place to sit and drink tea and eat ice cream right outside the gates of the temple grounds.  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
    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 »
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.
  • The temple is famous for its dry garden, composed of white sand and 15 stones. It is considered as the supreme expression of Zen Buddhism. A silent contemplation was possible for me in mid-October.

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