Ryoan-ji rock garden

Ryoan-ji rock garden

The enduring image of a raked gravel rock garden reflects the spirit of Zen Buddhism.

One of Japan's most iconic images is a large rock island adrift in a sea of meticulously raked gravel. Karesansui rock gardens date back to the Muromachi Period (1336-1573) as an aid to meditation at Zen temples. The gardens themselves are meant to hint the true essence of nature. 

While there are many Zen dry-landscape gardens across Japan, the most famous is at Kyoto's Ryoan-ji temple in the north-west corner of the city. Looking across Ryoan-ji's small rectangle of 15 rocks amid white pebbles, it's left to the visitor to ponder the meaning of it all.

Ryoan-ji rock garden

located in Kyoto

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

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    The perfect introduction to the fascinating culture of Japan at a time of year known for its lovely warm climate and fewer crowds. This tour includes day trips to Hiroshima, Miyajima Island and Himeji Castle.

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