Ryoanji, which translates to “The Temple of the Dragon at Peace” in English, is a Zen temple that is situated in the northwest portion of Kyoto, Japan. The temple has a long and rich history that began in the 11th century when the powerful warlord Fujiwara Saneyoshi constructed the first garden and temple. Ryoanji has changed hands many times but served as a burial site for Hosokawa emperors. Now Ryoanji is a World Heritage Site known mainly for its stunning collection of rock gardens, as well as for being a haven from the bustle of Kyoto.
- Sit on the veranda of the hojo and view the Karesansui, the Zen rock garden that is considered to be one of the best in all of Japan and draws visitors from all over Kyoto.
- Stroll around the water garden at Kyoyochi Pond, a 12th century addition to Ryoanji where cherry trees have recently been planted to further add to the beauty.
- Have a cup of tea at the teahouse and tea garden at Ryoanji, and you can bask in the tranquillity of the stone water basin where people come from Kyoto to be purified.
Kyoto, like most areas of Japan, has a smart public transportation system that makes it fairly easy to reach Ryoanji without using a car. The easiest way to get there is to leave from Kyoto Station and catch one of the JR buses that go directly to Ryoanji. The trip takes about half an hour, and there are buses leaving every fifteen or twenty minutes. You can also take the Keifuku Kitano Line of the train and get off at the Ryoanji-michi Station which is just a short walk away from the temple.
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