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Aug. 05, 2022 UPDATE
Tenryu-ji Temple - 天龍寺 -
Traveler Friendly
English brochures are available at the entrances of both the garden and the building. The main entrance of the temple is so close to Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line, Arashiyama station that you can easily access.
Information
Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean websites are available.
Languages spoken
Japanese only
3009 64 7.7 1 reviews
Aug. 05, 2022 UPDATE

Tenryu-ji Temple

- 天龍寺 -
Traveler Friendly
English brochures are available at the entrances of both the garden and the building. The main entrance of the temple is so close to Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line, Arashiyama station that you can easily access.
Information
Japanese, English, Chinese, and Korean websites are available.
Languages spoken
Japanese only
3009 64 7.7 1 reviews
Story & Recommendation
Enjoy an amazing garden and the scenic beauty of Arashiyama
Located in the Arashiyama district, Tenryū-ji Temple is the head temple of the Tenryū-ji School of Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism and a registered UNESCO world heritage site.
It was founded in 1339 by the Shogun Ashikaga Takauji in memory of Emperor Go-Daigo, with the eminent Zen master Musō Soseki serving as its first abbot. It was initially one of the largest Zen temples in Kyoto, but a series of eight major fires over the centuries have left it a fraction of its original size.
The highlight of any tour of the Tenryū-ji Temple is the Sōgen-chi Garden, Japan's first officially designated “special place of scenic beauty.” Designed by Musō Soseki in the early 1340s, the Sōgen-chi Garden has maintained its original form over the past 700 years.
Featuring flowers in the spring, maple leaves in the fall, and noted for its skillful use of the surrounding mountains as "borrowed scenery," the Sōgen-chi Garden can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Other places of interest at the Tenryū-ji Temple include the Dharma Hall, the Abbot's Quarters, and the Tahō-den.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll around the temple as you take in its magnificent scenery.
1Highlight
Hōjō (traditional residence of the Zen abbot)
Hōjō (traditional residence of the Zen abbot)
Tenryū-ji, like most major Zen temples, has two hōjōs: a Daihōjō (large hōjō) and Kohōjō (small hōjō). The Daihōjō, to the right in the photo is the largest building in Tenryū-ji. Visitors can enter the building and enjoy the view from the wide veranda overlooking the Sōgen-chi Garden.
2Highlight
Kuri
Kuri
The kuri was originally the temple kitchen, but at most temples nowadays it serves as the priest's everyday living quarters. At Tenryū-ji, it retains its original function as a kitchen, and also houses the administrative offices. With its distinctive appearance, Tenryū-ji's kuri has become the best known of the temple's buildings. When you enter Tenryū-ji's kuri, the first things you see is a large standing screen with a painting of Bodhidharma, the sixth-century Indian monk said to have transmitted the Zen teachings to China. This striking painting is a popular attraction, and visitors often have their picture taken standing next to it.
3Good Experiences
View The Sōgenchi Garden
View The Sōgenchi Garden
No visitor should leave Tenryū-ji without taking ample time to view this masterpiece of Japanese garden design. The Sōgen-chi Garden, which has remained nearly unchanged since it was created by Zen master, Musō Soseki almost 700 years ago, is best seen from the veranda of the Daihōjō. Its design skillfully incorporates the scenery of the surrounding mountains to give the garden a sense of added depth.
4Good Experiences
Enjoy Zen Vegetarian Cuisine
Enjoy Zen Vegetarian Cuisine (Shōjin ryōri) at the Ryūmontei Restaurant
Enjoy Zen vegetarian cuisine (shōjin ryōri) at the Ryūmontei Restaurant. The Ryūmontei Restaurant, located next to the Sōgen-chi Garden, offers traditional shōjin vegetarian cuisine, free of all meat, fish, hot spices, and strongly flavored vegetables such as garlic and onions. Three set menus are offered: Yuki (Snow) with rice, soup, and five side dishes (¥3,000), Tsuki (Moon) with rice, soup, and six side dishes (¥5,000), Hana (Flower) with rice, soup, and seven side dishes (¥7,000). Each side dish comes in its own small bowl, so with the Hana set you’ll be treated to a lavish, full-course-esque lunch. The restaurant is open everyday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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