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“Beautiful gardens”
Review of Ryoanji Temple

Ryoanji Temple
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Ranked #26 of 1,119 things to do in Kyoto
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New Zealand
Level 6 Contributor
292 reviews
162 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 241 helpful votes
“Beautiful gardens”
Reviewed June 10, 2013

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.

Visited June 2013
Thank Selsy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Worth coming!”
Reviewed June 4, 2013 via mobile

I came here because a local frien told me to do so. The place is very zen, nice to wlk around and chill. You only have to pay i you go to the rock garden (500 yen), which is nice (3,5 stars).
It is ~ 20-25 min walk from kinkaku-ji, so doing a 'temple run' is a goo idea for an exercise!

Thank Eduardo K
This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Athens GA
Level 6 Contributor
305 reviews
165 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
“Historic rock garden and beautiful grounds”
Reviewed May 30, 2013

This is the famous garden of swept gravel and 14 prominent stones, where it is not possible to view all 14 from any angle. Seen in many Japanese movies and the inspiration for similar gardens around the world. Purportedly a place for contemplation, but that is difficult with many visitors, both foreign tourists and Japanese school kids, all eager to describe to each other what they are seeing, rather than just taking it in. (sigh)

Don't miss the grounds within and immediately around the Temple. Notice the way that stones and gravel have been laid to manage to flow of water. Also there is a nice walk around a central pond / small lake, with nice views. Sometimes it is the big picture, but sometimes it is also the little details. The temple itself is not overly impressive, apart from the stone garden, but there is more to be seen. Definitely worth a visit.

Visited May 2013
Thank AthensBulldawg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
73 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“What a perfect garden!”
Reviewed May 17, 2013

This was my favorite temple in kyoto.I just don't know why,maybe because it was't crowded i was impressed too much.The Zen Garden was simple,but make me feel peaceful.The simplicity of temple makes it more atractive.

Visited April 2013
Thank haticeg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Celje, Slovenia
Level 6 Contributor
222 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 134 helpful votes
“Meditation, contemplation and energy!”
Reviewed May 12, 2013

Zen temple located in north-west Kyoto. Temple garden is known as on of the best rock gardens (kare-sansui), zen gardens in Japan, if you like. Again, this one is on the list of UNESCO World Cultural heritage sites. Admission is 500 JEN, worth every penny! The garden itself is rectangle of (just) 340 square meters, Placed within it are fifteen (15) stones, surrounded by white raked gravel. Sit on veranda, contemplate, find the 15th stone, as you can not see all of them at once. It is said that only through attaining enlightenment one would be able to view the fifteenth stone. Some super eneretic forces are at work there, you can feel the presence, just avoid the crowd, which is practicall impossible. Some say that you can visit this place in peace and quiet on a rainy day. Well, mine was sunny, so i really don't know how that would be like. And walk around the pond, see the gardens, they are just amazing. Meditate!

Visited May 2013
Thank Dermy76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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