Tenryu-ji Temple

The elegant garden still looks as it used to be about 700 years ago.

Text : Yasuko Yuhara

Photo provider : Koji Yamazaki


  One of the popular spots in Arashiyama is Tenryu-ji Temple, a zensatsu (zen temple) of Rinzai school, built in 1339. Walking straight on its long entrance path, you are going to see a kuri (temple kitchen) with a big triangle rooftop in front of you. Dignity of a big temple shows up once you look it up to its grand appearance.

  One of the highlights at Tenryu-ji Temple is ‘Sogenchi Garden’, a chisen-kaiyushiki garden (a type of Japanese garden with a pond in the center) created by Muso Soseki from Tenryu-ji Temple Kaisan. What you can see in front of big Sogenchi pond is ‘Ryumonbaku’, a stone arrangement expressing ‘A carp which has finished climbing up the waterfall changes its figure into a dragon’ from a historical allusion. You can only visit the garden, but I would like you to go up on a hojo (abbots’ quarters) to see the garden from above. You can enjoy the garden scenery by thinking of Soseki Muso’s idea, who is a zen monk and also a gardener as well. Once you get off the hojo to the garden, you will see a totally different view again.

  When you visit the temple on Saturday, Sunday and spring and fall special viewing period, you can see Unryu-zu (painting of dragon and clouds) on the ceiling of a lecture hall of the temple. A lively dragon staring at all sides painted by Matazo Kayama, a Japanese-style painter, has a powerful impact.

  It is surprising to know that the old Tenryu-ji Temple used to be much larger than now including Sogenchi pond, Oigawa River (Katsuragawa River), Togetsukyo Bridge, and Arashiyama as well. Soseki Muso decided 10 famous places as ‘Tenryu-ji Jyukkei’ and praised these splendid sceneries around. This garden still attracts so many people even after 700 years. Let’s forget the time and spend some times as much as you want here.





ADDRESS : 68 Susukino Baba-cho, Saga Tenryu-ji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)

PHONE : +81(0)75-881-1235

HOURS : 8:30 a.m. ~ 5:30 p.m. closed (from Oct 21st ~ March 20th, 4:00 p.m. closed)

CHARGE : The garden (Sogenchi pondHyakkaen) 500 yen for High school students and over. 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

Shodo (DaihojoShoinTahoden) adding 300 yen on the regular charge.

Hodo ‘Unryuzu’ special viewing 500 yen per person (additional charge)

WEBSITE : http://www.tenryuji.com/

★Next TRAVEL IDEA spot of ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto - Visiting Temples and Shrines' is ‘Yasaka Shrine

★TRAVEL IDEA ‘10 Things To Do in Kyoto'
① Visiting Temples and Shrines
② Buying souvenirs
③ Visiting Arashiyama・Sagano
④ Having Kyo-ryori
⑤ Wearing Kimono
⑥ Having Japanese tea
⑦ Having seafood
⑧ Visiting shops in Machiya
⑨ Being exposed to a traditional culture
⑩ Feeling nature