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Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

Located out of Kyoto’s city center in Arashiyama, Tenryuji is a UNESCO World Heritage site most famous for its picturesque landscape garden. Founded in 1339, the temple was made for Gautama Buddha and is in the Rinzai Zen sect of Buddhism. Located in the middle of Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove, Tenryuji and its gardens are one of the most popular sightseeing spots in Arashiyama.

  • Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Tenryuji has two gardens, a large landscape garden and smaller flower garden near the main building. The main garden, Sogenchi Teien, was designed by popular landscape designer and priest Muso Soseki. The Arashiyama mountain range provides a scenic backdrop to the pond and carefully chosen trees and fauna. The garden is especially beautiful in autumn, when the trees and mountains turn bright orange and red. The garden is vast and visitors can view the garden from the temple itself or discover the walking trails. The walking trails take visitors throughout the garden and into small hillsides where they can have an overview of the gardens and main temple.

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    The smaller flower garden, Hyakka’en, or Garden of a Thousand Flowers, was built with the North Gate in 1983. The peaceful path is covered in a variety of flowers and leads to the Arashiyama bamboo grove.

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Another one of Tenryuji’s famous pieces is the Cloud Dragon on the ceiling of the Hatto building. The Hatto was originally where monks listened to sermons but is now only used for special occasions. The Cloud Dragon was first painted by Suzuki Shonen but was refurbished in 1997 by Kayama Matazo, a celebrated Nihonga painter. Since the Hatto is only open for special occasions, the Cloud Dragon can only be viewed on weekends, public holidays and special exhibition times. There are specific dates throughout the year where the Hatto is closed for ceremonies so be sure to double check before visiting. The Hatto also charges an extra 500 yen admission fee.

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Tenryuji offers a variety of events and workshops for those interested in Zen Buddhism. Visitors are welcome to sit zazen and meditate in the morning while listening to the monks recite their prayers. Zazen is held in Yu’un an and is free, no reservation necessary. Larger events are also held throughout the year, celebrating Buddhist holidays and monastic practices. Tenryuji is open on these days and visitors are free to learn the ways of Buddhist monks.

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Shigetsu is the in temple shojin ryori, or vegetarian Buddhist cuisine, restaurant. The restaurant is one of the best in Kyoto and serves their meals in a tatami room with a clear view of the famous garden. The healthy meals reflect the seasons and are cooked without any animal products. Set meals range from 3,000 yen to 7,000 yen and come with rice and soup. Shigetsu is open from 11AM-2PM and it is recommended to make a reservation beforehand.

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Exploring Arashiyama’s Tenryuji

    Tenryuji is easily accessed from from three different ticket gates. Hours are from 8:30AM-5:30PM from March 21 to October 20 and 8:30AM-5PM October 21 to March 20. Admission is 500 yen and additional admission fees apply to temples inside the main area.

    Arashiyama
    Address
    Kyoto Prefecture Kyoto City Ukyo-ku Arashiyama
    Phone
    Tenryu-ji Temple
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Ukyou-ku Sagatenryujisusukinobabachou 68
    Phone
    0758811235
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