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  • Tenryu-ji Temple, Kyoto

  • Tenryu-ji Garden Or Sogenchi Garden, Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

Tenryu-ji Temple (means "Heavenly Dragon Temple") is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ranked number one out of the Five Great Zen Temples in Kyoto. This impressive head temple of the Rinzai Zen Buddhism School is truly a highlight within the Arashiyama district. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
The temple complex contains one of the best and beautiful gardens in Kyoto. Tenryu-ji Garden (Sogenchi-teien), designated as a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the Japanese government, incoporates perfectly the mountains of Arashiyama in the background. The 14th century landscape garden is one of the oldest in Japan and an outstanding example of shakkei (borrowed scenery) garden design.

  • Tenryu-ji Temple:
  • Opening Hours: - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm (March 21st - October 20th)
  • Opening Hours: - 8:30 am to 5:00 pm (rest of the year)
  • Closed: - never, open whole year
  • Admission fee Hojo garden - 500 yen (Adults), 300 yen (Students)

History

Originally the first Zen temple of Japan (Danrin-ji Temple) was located at the Tenryu-ji site. Later emporer Emperor Go-Saga (1220 - 1272) and his 7th son Emperor Kameyama (1249 - 1305) built an imperial villa (Kameyama Detached Palace) at this location. In 1339 Tenryu-ji was built by Ashikaga Takauji (first shogun and founder of the Ashikaga shogunate) to honour Emperor Go-Daigo (1288 - 1339). The temple was completed in 1345. During the centuries the temple was destroyed 8 times by fire and the latest reconstruction is dating back to the Meiji Time (1868 - 1912). Finally in 1994 Tenryu-ji received the status of an UNESCO World Hertiage Site as part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

Location Show map

Tenryu-ji Temple is located within Arashiyama district in the western outskirts of Kyoto.
Address: 68 Susukinobaba-cho, Saga Tenryu-ji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, 616-8385 Japan

How to get to Tenryu-ji?

  • 15min from Kyoto Station to Saga-Arashiyama Station by JR Sagano Line and
  • 11min from Saga-Arashiyama Station to Tenryu-ji or
  • 33min from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae Bus Stop by bus nr. 28

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Tenryu-ji Garden - created by the well-known garden designer Muso Soseki and my must-see recommandation for you, the center piece of the garden is a pond (Sogen Pond) surrounded by rocks and pine trees

The teaching hall - reconstructed in 1900, dont miss the famous dragon painting (Unryu-zu) by Suzuki Shonen

Chokushi gate - oldest temple building, the one-storey gate represents the yotsuashimon architecture style during the Momoyama Period (1573 - 1600)

Ohojo - large abbey was constructed in 1899

Important Cultural Properties - temple complex contains famous writings (by Kitabatake Chikafusa 1293 - 1354), illustrations and paintings (by Seiryo Dogen Zenji - Yunmen Daishi, Avalokitesvara), wooden carving of Gautama Buddha and 3 portraits of Muso Soseki (1275 - 1351)

Important Cultural Properties - temple complex contains famous writings (by Kitabatake Chikafusa 1293 - 1354), illustrations and paintings (by Seiryo Dogen Zenji - Yunmen Daishi, Avalokitesvara), wooden carving of Gautama Buddha and 3 portraits of Muso Soseki (1275 - 1351)

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

February

Setsubun (3rd)
One day before spring arrives (lunar calendar) the Setsubun is celebrated. Bean throwing (Mame maki) ceremonies are held at the shrine to get a good fortune for the year. Do not miss the bonfire on the evening.

April

Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).

May

Ochatsubo Dochu (1st)
The Ochatsubo Dochu or Traveling Tea Canisters festival dates back to the Edo Period. It represents the practice of showing the new tea harvest from Uji to the ruling shogun in the old days. Now during the parade large ceramic containers with tea are carried by people wearing traditional costumes from Kenninji Temple to Yasaka Shrine.

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

November

Shichi-Go-San (15th)
The well-being and growth of young children is celebrated at the shrine and in the rest of Japan.

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