Ryoan-ji Temple

Ryoan-ji Temple © Iry


Ryoan-ji is a world culture heritage site that is attached to the Rinzai Buddhist Sect’s Myoshinji Faction, and contains a famous rock garden. In 1450, Hosokawa Katsumoto inherited the Tokudai-ji temple’s mountain villa, and invited Giten Gensou, priest of Myoshin-ji temple to this temple. Unfortunately in 1797 a vast majority of it was destroyed in a fire and the present abbot’s chamber is a dismantling and reconstruction of the Nishigen-in subtemple.  

Enjoy the dry landscape garden

The primary attraction here at Ryoan-ji is the dry landscape garden that uses no water, the Hojo-teien, designated as a national historic site. It is 25m wide and 10m long, paved with white sand, with 15 stones arranged into groupings of 7, 5, and 3. It has a variety of names stemming from these arrangements. It is called "Garden 7, 5, 3" because of these groupings or "The Garden of a tiger cub, crossing the river", for its shape resembles that of a tiger cub. It’s said that it appears to be like islands floating in a sea of clouds, and also the Japanese character for "heart" 心. While the true intentions of the creator are lost to history, although there are 15 stones in the garden it’s impossible to see more than 14 from any given angle, giving it a mysterious feel. It was visited in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth of Britain. 

Additionally, in the northeastern part of the Abbot’s quarters in front of the tea house, you can find a washbowl which is said to have been donated by Tokugawa Mitsukuni whose role model was Mito Komon. It has an engraving: "Rich is the person who is content with what he is". There is a tea house in the northeast of the garden, contributed by Tokugawa Mitsukuni. It is to be noted that from early March to early April, Japan’s oldest Wabisuke Camellia flowers here. The tea house was loved by tea masters such as Sen no Rikyu, and was given very high praise by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

From December 1 to the end of February, be aware that it is only open from 8:30 to 4:30.


From JR Kyoto Station take the city bus to Ritsumeikan University (立命館大学前), get off and walk 7 minutes. You can also take the Keihan Railway bus from Sanjo Station (三条駅) to Ryoan-ji Temple stop and walk just 1 minute. From the Keifuku’s Ryoan-ji Temple Way station (龍安寺道) it’s just 7 minutes as well. 

Image Gallery: Ryoan-ji Temple

Description: Ryoan-ji Temple

Sights Ryoan-ji Temple (龍安寺)
Address 13, Goryonoshita-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-463-2216 / Fax: 075-463-2218
Duration 1Hour(s)
Business Hours Monday:08:00-05:30
Admission Fee Pay admission: 500yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Ryoan-ji Temple