Shrines & Temples

    Tenryu-ji Temple

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    Tenryu-ji Temple

    Zen temple with fine garden and grand mountains as the backdrop in Arashiyama

    Arashiyama is one of the most favored tourist sites in Kyoto that attracts millions of visitors from around Japan and the world.  Tenryu-ji Temple is a must-visit site.  The temple is designated as the World Heritage Site and is the headquarters of the Tenryuji School of the Rinzai sect of Buddhism, founded in 1339.  A powerful samurai lord, Takauji Ashikaga built this large scale temple to commemorate the spirit of the late-Emperor Godaigo.  There was an imperial villa where Emperor Godaigo had spent his childhood and Ashikaga transformed the villa into a Zen temple.  The temple is regarded as one of the five most important temples in Kyoto.  Most of the temple structures were burnt down in fires and wars during its long history, but a large scale garden with a pond at the back of the main hall reminds people of what it used to look like.  The first head priest was Muso Kokushi who was also a genius of garden design.  He artistically designed the garden using the surrounding mountains as backdrops.  This grand stroll style garden with a large pond was designated the first national scenic beauty spot.  Seasonal natural beauty and the simplicity of Zen philosophy merge together in perfect balance.  Late autumn is the best time to visit the temple as crimson colored leaves decorate the entire site.  Their garden, “Hyakkaen,” is full of seasonal colors in any season: camellia in winter, azaleas and mallow roses in spring.  Besides the gardens, another must-see is the incredibly powerful dragon painting on the ceiling of Ho-do Hall.

    Translation to English by AD BRAIN INC.
    Fujin-gaho,December issue,2013


    Name Tenryu-ji Temple
    Address 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryuji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto
    Tel 075–881–1235
    Hours 8:30-17:00 (Oct. 21-Mar. 20), until 17:30 (Mar. 21-Oct. 20), Ho-do Hall: 9:00-16:30 (Oct. 21-Mar. 20), until 17:00 (Mar. 21-Oct. 20)
    Recommended Entry: Admission free in the precinct; Garden: 500 yen (additional 100 yen required to enter each building); Special entry to Ho-do Hall: 500 yen