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“Famous Zen Garden & Gorgeous Tofu Lunch”
Review of Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple
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$689.51*
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Private Full Day Kyoto Streets Tour with a Photographer
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$58.92*
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Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle
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$122.74*
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Private Custom Tour: Kyoto in One Day
Ranked #28 of 1,131 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed February 16, 2013

It's easy to understand why some visitors to the "most celebrated" rock garden ("hiraniwa") in Japan at Ryoanji Temple find it "underwhelming" or a bit of a let-down. There are no serene ponds or rolling hills to distract the eye. The enclosed Zen garden is rather small with rocks of different shapes and sizes strategically placed on a rectangular space of neatly raked white gravel. It took me some time to confirm that there were indeed 15 rocks in total. Upon reflection, isn't the simplicity of the garden based on Zen principles? Walking further on the grounds, we chanced upon a beautiful enclosed garden and the delightful Yudofuya Restaurant. We were so excited because it was a surprising discovery precisely at lunch time. We sat in an ultra quiet elongated room on tatami mats (everyone spoke in whispers, presumably to enjoy the gorgeous garden view and food) and savoured the special tofu hotpot and vegetarian lunch set. It felt so very Japanese!! It was a truly special experience having the tofu meal (Kyoto is known for its tofu and they served us huge blocks of high quality silken tofu) while we looked out to the exquisite garden as it began to snow gently outside. We only realized how comfortably warm the restaurant was after we stepped back out! Definitely a memorable visit!

2  Thank SavvyGlobetrotter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 12, 2013

This garden is really worth a visit but it is small and the visitor has to interpret it themselves. You view the garden from inside the building which itself is interesting.

Thank pollyoppy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

This is a rock garden that shows some of the japanese culture. Lovely and quiet place. Great place to sit and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

1  Thank Wkho89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 10, 2013

This is a very nice and simple wooden temple compound with classic clean lines and a typical tatami room. The highlight is the zen rock garden, which is a super example of one. The temple is more expensive than its neighbour (Golden Pavilion) and it doesn't quite justify its higher entry fee (500 yen). If you like temples a lot, then you should visit, but if you have a passing interest and are feeling a little 'templed out'; then you can give it a miss.

1  Thank tombillinge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 2, 2013

Icon of Zen Garden - and Japan

Ryoanji is near to Kinkakuji, a short bus trip will bring you there. We spent the afternoon there. We bought some white sandalwood incense at the shop, the fragrance is lovely, light and sweet. Sandalwood has been in use for at least 4000 years. It was not very expensive for a large bunch. We are lighting one up once or twice a week. Very soothing, enjoy a few moments of relaxation and recollect a few lovely Kyoto images.


http://hngdreams.blogspot.sg/2012/11/18-nov-afternoon-one-of-icon-of-japan.html

Thank Crescentra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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