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Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto

3.8
#7 of 347 in Historic Sites in Kyoto
Religious Site Tourist Spot
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. Take a look at our Kyoto trip generator to schedule your visit to Ryoanji Temple and learn about what else to see and do during your holiday.
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Where to stay in Kyoto

Kyoto spoils visitors for choice when it comes to good accommodations, offering everything from traditional ryokans to luxury Western-style hotels. In a city used to receiving foreign travelers, you'll find that most establishments know exactly what to offer tourists and how to help newcomers to the area. To avoid paying premium prices during the cherry blossom season, consider staying in Osaka, located just a 30-minute train ride away. If you must stay in Kyoto itself, keep in mind that centrally located hotels charge more than those in the outer neighborhoods.
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  • The zen garden was very...zen. my sweetie was antsy in a short period of time, but I could have sat for an hour. Be sure to follow any paths that look viable. We found some interesting nooks and crann...  more »
  • This complex has a Zen Buddhist rock garden with interesting features. There are 15 rocks symbolizing perfection in Buddhist culture. You cannot see all 15 rocks from any one vantage point. There are ...  more »
  • "I learn only to be contented". These words are inscribed on the Tsukubai stone wash basin. The temple gardens also house the famous garden of fifteen stones. A lovely tranquil place.  more »