Like many others, I came here to see the famous zen rock garden. While I appreciated this, and found it interesting, it wasn't quite the contemplative experience I'd hoped for. This was due to the crowds and, at one point, an audio in Japanese, presumably explaining the garden.
What I really loved about Ryoanji was the rest of it. Just around the corner from the famous rock garden is a little gem of a moss garden. It was serene and tranquil, and I loved sitting there for a while. The herds of must-do list ticking tourists walked right by this.
Ryoanji also has extensive gardens surrounding the temple buildings. It was summer, so lots of things were flowering, including azaleas, irises and hydrangeas. The lake was full of water lilies, and there were tortoises sunbathing on the rocks. There are statues and shrines in nooks and crannies throughout the gardens.
Garden-lovers would really enjoy this, but if your only reason for visiting is because you've been told the rock garden is a "must-see" then you'll be disappointed. Ryoanji is so much more than the rock garden, and it was one of the best things I saw in Kyoto.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.