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A place of contemplation, Ryoanji may be close to the crowded paths of the golden pavilion, but it feels a thousand miles away when it comes to atmosphere. Established by Hosokawa Katsumoto in 1450, the temple was originally a mountain villa but the shogun deputy invited Zen priest Giten Gensho to reside there. Suffering numerous fires, the complex has been rebuilt over centuries but maintains a sense of calm throughout its grounds. The most famous and intriguing element is the stone garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site located beside the main building. The history of the garden is shrouded in mystery, with little known about its creator - although Hosokawa, Giten, famed painter Soami are all considered possible designers. The abstract layout of the 15 stones lends to the curiosity surrounding it - with many interpretations offered, from a tiger carrying her cubs to mountains in the clouds. Taking a seat on the worn wooden steps of the Hojo (the abbot’s hall), visitors can contemplate the garden’s possibilities and perspectives - taking a break from the hectic nature of everyday life, if only for a while. The neighbouring temple of Ninnaji is nearby and has an impressive Japanese garden and Pagoda, accessible by bus or on foot from Ryoanji. Hours: Mar - Nov: 8am - 5pm, Dec - Feb: 8.30am - 4.30pm. [Images: All LCB]
  • Details
  • 13 Ryōanji Goryōnoshitachō, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto, 616-8001, Japan
  • Entry
    Standard 499.99 JPY
    Kids 300.00 JPY Under 15
  • Website
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    Physical 1
    Culture 4
    Fun 3
    Education 1
  • Tags
    Family friendly
    Tourist must-do

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