Ryoan-ji Temple

Losing ourselves in a mysterious atmosphere of Karesansui garden.

Text : Keiko Kimura


  Established in 1450, Rinzai sect, the Myoshin-ji Temple school, Ryoan-ji Temple burned down once in Onin War, but Masamoto Hosokawa: a bush who lived in the Sengoku Period ( civil war era in Japan) rebuilt it again. Notice board which Hideyoshi Toyotomi wrote when he visited here several times is still saved nowadays. A kuri, located in northern part in the temple, has a heavy appearance. It is an atmosphere that you can calm yourself through a clear air.

  One of the highlights here is their Hojo (abbot’s quaters) also an important cultural property there. The late Kakuo Satsuki spent 5 years to paint Mt.Kongouzan in North Korea on fusuma sliding screen and it is magnificent work.

  Morerover, thing that you can’t ignore is Karesansui stone garden which is included on UNESCO’s World Heritage list (Official name is Hojo Garden). Width 25m, depth 10m, and white small stones are spread out in a space of about 248㎡ and 15 stones are placed as 5, 2, 3, 2, 3 from east side.

  We still don’t know who made this stone garden even now. We see a carved seal saying ‘Kotaro・Kojiro’ on a back side of a garden stone, but this is not even a certain information at all.

  Therefore, no one know the concept of the garden. This is a very mysterious structure that you cannot see all 15 stones from any angle views. However, we still don’t know the answer why it happens and everything is all depending on how you look and feel.

  White small stones and 15 garden stones. This stone garden is very abstract and what you can see is how you reflect what you feel. Strength and beauty, or feeling toward time passing by, you can see something when you face it purely.

  One more thing that you can enjoy yourself at this Ryoan-ji Temple is Saigen-in Temple which you can have Shojin dish (vegetable dish) and Tofu dish right in front of Japanese garden. I will be a rich experience to have dishes with seasonal sceneries there. This is the spot that I would like to recommend to you to have a relaxing time.




ADDRESS : 13 Goryo Shita-cho Ryoanji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City (MAP)

PHONE : +81(0)75-463-2216

HOURS : 8:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m. (March 1st ~ Nov 30th), 8:30 a.m. ~ 4:30 p.m. (Dec 1st ~ the end of February)

CHARGE : 500 yen for high school students and over, 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students.

WEBSITE : http://www.ryoanji.jp/top.html

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

★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