Jan. 24, 2019 UPDATE

Kyoto’s absolute top 20 Japanese gardens you must visit!

When in Kyoto, you have to visit Japanese gardens, so look no further for a list of the best rock and pond gardens!
Hosen-in Temple

Japanese gardens are something that captures the essence of Japan. There are many types of Japanese gardens, from the karesansui dry rock gardens that replicate the flow of water with rocks, to the strolling gardens that are built around a pond. Because of the relation these gardens have with Zen and the Japanese concept of wabi and sabi, they are most often found at temples, so this, of course, means there are many Japanese gardens in Kyoto. And here we have the ranking of the best 20 of them in Kyoto!

20Hogon-in Temple

Hogon-in Temple

Hogon-in Temple is a sub-temple of Tenryu-ji, and their strolling garden called “Shihiku no Niwa” with its exquisitely placed rocks is open to the public in spring and autumn.


Hogon-in Temple

Arashiyama & Sagano / Other Kyoto Area
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19Eikan-do Temple

Eikan-do Temple

Eikan-do, the temple of autumn leaves, has gardens of different styles. The contrast between the white pebbles and the trees is beautiful in all of the gardens which surround the Hojo Abbot’s Quarters.


Eikando

Nanzenji Temple & Ginkakuji Temple / Central Kyoto Area
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18Ohashi-ke Garden

Ohashi-ke Garden

This garden on the north side of Fushimi Inari Shrine uses a lot of stone, like the 11 stone lanterns it has. The snug little garden is built around a tea house.


Ohashi Family Garden

Fushimi Inari / Other Kyoto Area
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17Sanzen-in Temple

Sanzen-in Temple

If you want to see a beautiful moss garden, I recommend Sanzen-in Temple. They have two different types of gardens, one which you can view from one spot, and a stroll garden which you view by walking on a path in the garden, and in both of them you can enjoy seasonal views all though the year.


Sanzen-in Temple

Ohara / Other Kyoto Area
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16Ninna-ji Temple

Ninna-ji Temple

At Ninna-ji Temple they have two gardens, each with its unique beauty: the chisen-kaiyu-shiki garden from where you can see the Five-Storied Pagoda across the pond, and the rock garden with its simple charm.


Ninna-ji Temple

Kinkakuji & Uzumasa / Other Kyoto Area
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Erika[ Sharing Kyoto Staff ] STAFF DETAIL
There you have it, the best 20 Japanese gardens in Kyoto according to us at Sharing Kyoto. At Japanese gardens you can feel the uniquely Japanese aesthetic sense of Zen and wabi-sabi, which will make you feel serene and relaxed. Remember to put at least one Japanese garden on your Kyoto itinerary.
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