Ryoan-ji Temple 【World Heritage】
Famous rock garden of the dry landscape
The Temple of the Dragon at Peace - Zen Temple
January 19, 2016

Meditative Zen garden!

This UNESCO Heritage Site is, for me, as it is for many, all about the Zen garden. It is difficult to explain in words its abstract beauty and power, which was designed to facilitate meditation. There are 15 large rocks set in pebbles swept into a pattern; and apparently, from any angle (except above), one can only see 14 rocks. If you have attained enlightenment, you will be able to see 15! The garden is best viewed seated on the veranda, from where you can see the garden in its entirety at once. Also, take note of the wall surrounding the garden, as it is an important element. Do make time for some quiet contemplation to experience finite infinity! After that, take a walk around the temple grounds and view the landscape garden and pond.

written by
Mercedes Dobler
I’m from Toronto, Canada and have lived in Japan for 17 years, first in Kobe and now in Ashiya. I am passionate about food, wine, sake, art, books, movies and travel. I enjoy studying Japanese and French, and in my free time, I practice and teach Shotokan karate.

This Zen temple, opened when Hosokawa Katsumoto reconstructed the old villa of Tokudaiji family in 1450. Noted for the rectangular white-sand Karesansui-style garden, stretching from east to west, in which 15 pieces of rocks of various sizes are laid out. However, one or two of the 15 rocks are always covered and unable to be seen. This is said to represent the teaching of Zen-the interpretation of this theme relating to the garden may vary depending on the viewer's thoughts and emotions. 

Ryoan-ji Temple 【World Heritage】


●Hours/8:00〜17:00 (December-February 8:30〜16:30)
●Admission/500 yen for adults and high school students, 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students
◆Access/City bus from JR Kyoto Station and 7-minute walk after getting off at Ritsumeikan Daigaku-mae bus stop.

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