Ryoanji Temple, located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture is a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, famous for its karesansui rock garden.
Karesansui is an traditional Japanese dry garden, expressing landscape just using rock or stone.

Ryoanji Temple, founded in 1450 by Hosokawa Katsumoto, is designated as one of the cultural properties that consists Kyoto’s World Heritage Site.

Passage of Ryoanji Temple
Sponsor link

Rock Garden

Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple

The highlight of Ryoanji Temple is the rock garden, which is 25m (82feet) wide and 10m (32feet) deep. At Ryoanji Temple, visitors can sit on the porch of the hall and view the rock garden.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Ryoanji Temple during her visit to Japan in 1975, and the news of her visit was widely publicized, making Ryoanji Temple known throughout the world.

The rock garden at Ryoanji Temple is still a mystery, as the year it was created, the creator, and the intent of its creation are still unknown.
The golden ratio is used in the arrangement of the stones, and a perspective technique is used to create depth by sloping the garden.

Miniature rock garden of Ryoanji Temple
Miniature rock garden

It is said that 15 stones of various sizes are arranged in the rock garden, but no matter where you view them from, one stone is hidden and you cannot see all of them at once.
There are various theories as to the reason for this curious design.
In the East, the number 15 means perfection, but the rock garden at Ryoanji Temple represents imperfection within perfection, as only a maximum of 14 stones can be seen at a time.
The garden is also said to be incomplete because perfection is considered the beginning of collapse in Japan.

Stone steps at Ryoanji Temple

In addition, the precincts of the temple also have a circular garden centering on Kyoyochi Pond, which was featured in an Edo period guidebook and is a popular spot for strolling.

Sponsor link



Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺)


Every day


Adults and High school students: 600yen, Middle and Elementary school students: 300yen.


13 Ryoanji Goryonoshitacho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto 616-8001


7 minute walk from Ritsumeikan Daigaku-mae bus stop and Ryoanji Station.


Ritsumeikan Daigaku-mae (bus stop)
Kyoto City Bus

(Keifuku Electric Railroad) Ryoanji Station
Keifuku Kitano Line