Tenryu-ji Temple. Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Tenryu-ji Temple

Temple in Kyoto, Japan

Tenryu-Ji Temple Garden 33 Photo © Mitch

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Tenryu-ji Temple

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Tenryu-ji Temple - Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple - Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by Gnurou
Tenryu-ji Temple is one of main attractions in Kyoto, Japan featuring magnificent mountains scenery and beautiful gardens. The temple was built after the the death of Emperor Go-Daigo (Wikipedia Article). Not long after his death, a shogun had a dream about a dragon that rose from the river nearby, and assumed that the king was not resting in peace. So they built the temple in 1339 to tribute him and named the temple ‘Tenryu-Ji Temple’, which means “Heavenly Dragon Temple”. There are lots of key attractions that will await you at this place. Firstly, let's take a look at the garden that surrounds the temple area.

The Sogen Pond Garden

The Tenryu-ji Temple is one of the perfect samples of shakkei, or borrowed scenery, in Japan. It features sheer mountains that are effortlessly merged into the garden's landscape. At the courtyard, you will be amazed by the nicely-arranged zen garden that offers different enchanting scenery during the four seasons. The most popular period to visit this temple is in autumn, where the leaves change into vibrant colors and the weather is comforting. You can spend the whole day just by sitting in the veranda near the garden to enjoy the view and find your inner peace. In spring, the scenery is also quite astonishing as it is the time for the cheery trees to blossom. The garden is just the beginning, since at close proximity, you can start to enter the next attraction, the main temple of this complex.

Lotus Pond 曹源池 - Tenryu-ji Temple
Lotus Pond 曹源池 - Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by jpellgen

Hatto, the Main Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple -
	Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple - Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by Gnurou
When entering the main temple, which is called Hatto, you will be blown away by the historic painting on its ceiling. The Cloud Dragon painting was made in 1997 to honor the death of Tenryu-ji's founder, Musō Soseki (Wikipedia
	Article), on its 650th anniversary. Painted with soulful and artistic manner, the process to set up the painting on the ceiling was very challenging due to its delicate yet huge material. The unique style of this painting is called happo nirami, it's a technique where the dragon's eyes appear to look straight at the viewer wherever it is seen from different perspective around the Hatto temple. The hall in the temple previously served as the Zen Meditation Hall before the Meiji Restoration, but now the function is relocated to Yu'un an, a series of building situated at the east part of the complex. The next temple is also quite intriguing due to its unique architecture.

The Iconic Kuri

Don't miss the chance to explore the symbol of Tenryu-ji Temple, the Kuri. Additionally, it is become the visitor's most favorite building for taking picture. This newly renovated temple, which was designed with a standout white exterior wall and beautiful, dark brown high roof will give you a sense of travel back in the old Zen era. Entering the main hall, you can find the painting of Bodhidharma, an Indian monk who brought the Zen philosophy to China. Let's continue to the next historic key attraction that is connected to this temple.

Daihojo, The Largest Temple

Tenryu-ji Temple -
	Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple - Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by Gnurou
The largest building in the area, which is called the Daihojo temple, is also well-known as the most ancient temple in Kyoto. The Daihojo is mainly used for ceremonial functions and other larger celebration events. It has wide verandas to give you a more convenient way to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding. The interior of this building is partitioned into six sections with the classic Hojo style, those are three sections in the front and three sections at the back. The front section covers an area of 48 tatami mats while the back sections covers an area of 24 tatami mats. Your journey won't be complete until you taste the real cuisine of Tenryu-ji Temple.

The Culinary Experience

Despite all the amazing scenery packed into the Tenryu-ji Temple, the culinary journey is just as tempting. At the Ryumontei, the scenic temple building at the south part of the complex, you can taste the authentic zen vegetarian dish called Shigetsu to complete your journey experience. With various selections of set menu and fresh, natural ingredients, this cuisine offers delicious yet healthful meals as part of the Buddhist's daily routine.

To make the journey more astounding, you will walk on the path that is surrounded with flowers garden as you leave the temple area. The garden path leads you to the road outside the Tenryu-ji Temple. If you are keen to explore more attraction in close vicinity, the Tenryu-ji Temple is just a few steps away from the famous Arashiyama (Wikipedia Article).

Tenryu-ji Temple -
	Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by Freddy Monteiro

How to Get There

Tenryu-Ji Temple can be accessed with a 5-minute walk from Torokko Arashiyama Station, Arashiyama line.
From the east part of the area, it can be accessed with a 15-minute walk from Saga Arashiyama Station, JR Sagano line. It can also be reached within a 5-minute walk from Keifuku Arashiyama Station.

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Author: albert.budi11@gmail.com. Last updated: Mar 24, 2016

Pictures of Tenryu-ji Temple

Around Tenryu-ji temple - Tenryu-ji Temple
Around Tenryu-ji temple - Photo by Gnurou

Tenryu-ji Temple - Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji Temple - Photo by Mariko Kato

Tenryu-ji 天龍寺 - Tenryu-ji Temple
Tenryu-ji 天龍寺 - Tenryu-ji Temple. Photo by jpellgen


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