Museums & Sights



The Ryoan-ji complex occupies 50 ha at the foot of the Kitayama mountains, but it’s famous for just 248sq m: the karensansui (dry mountain water). Often described as the world’s finest Zen garden, it is said to contain ‘infinite teachings’, although you may have to settle for just admiring its simplicity. Neither the garden’s designer nor his or her intentions are known, but leading theories about the layout suggest that it represents either the branches of a tree or a tigress leading her cubs across a river. The rest of the grounds receive less attention but are no less beautiful, and the Seigen-in tofu restaurant offers one of the best views of any eaterie in the city.

Kyoto Shortlist

Review updated October 2009


13 Goryonoshita-machi, Ryoan-ji, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto

Transport Buses 50, 55, 59.

Open Mar-nov 8am-5pm daily. dec-feb 8.30am-4.30pm daily.

Admission Admission ¥500.

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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