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For those who are thinking,
「I wanna know about the highlights and enjoyments of Ryoanji!」
「What kind of history does Ryoanji have?」
then this article is for you!

Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information you need in order to further enjoy Japan!

What we, the information brokers of Japan would like to introduce to you in this article is the temple, in Kyoto, that is stuffed with a lot of charm, Ryoanji!

Ryoanji is located in the Sakyo district, Kyoto prefecture, and it belongs to the Rinzai belief.

It should come to those who are history buffs that “Ryoanji is famous for its stone garden”.

In fact, many people come from all over the world to see the stone garden.

Now let’s get right into it!

Ryoanji’s History In 5 Minutes!

Founding(15 Century)

The temples all over Japan were usually made during the 10th century or earlier, but it is said that Ryoanji was built by Hosokawa Katsumoto in the 15th century.

※Hosokawa Katsumoto was the leader of the Eastern Troops in the Onin War. He was also the reason that the Sengoku period, when sengoku warlords such as Oda Nobunaga and Uesugi Kenshin were active, started as the Muromachi Shogunate lost its authority.

The Relation to Onin War(1467)

Ryoanji belongs to the Rinzai belief and has a history of being protected caringly by the shogunate.

The reason being, the shogunate was devoted to Zen Buddhism.

However, after a young Ashikaga clan member became the shogun, Kyoto’s land became devastated. The protecting Daimyo and guardians bolstered in strength in other regions as well.

Then, Oda Nobunaga went to Kyoto to serve under Ashikaga Yoshiaki which ended the Muromachi Shogunate.

Ryoanji was built once before the Onin War, but due to the war it was destroyed.

The now standing Ryoanji was said to have been rebuilt in 1499 with the new stone garden.

Edo Period(1603~1868)

Ryuanji History do Period

Going into the Edo period, the main area of the government moved to Edo and the imperial court in Kyoto took shape. Ryoanji was subsequently introduced as a tourist spot to Japanese people.

Though civil wars did happen, the Edo period was rather peaceful as there were no large scale wars.

The civil wars mainly focused on opposing the shogunate and protecting Christianity. Other than that though, there were no specific movements to overthrow the shogunate nor the imperial court. The people were able to live a long period under the identification system called the heirarchy of samurai.

In this condition,  people started taking up betting in lotteries and traveling, especially around Mt. Fuji and temples, as hobbies.

At the time, literature of famous eateries and tourist spots were being sold. As the vendors where they were sold became popular Ryoanji was became known to many as a place where many would go to from all over.

Of course, there were no cars nor planes just as there are now, but there are records of people going on tours by just walking or horse.

The Devastation Brought By The Haibutsu Kishaku of the Meiji Period

As the Meiji Period began, the period of Buddhism being protected had come to an end.

This is because one of the governmental policies in the Meiji Period, the [Haibutsu Kishaku].

The Haibutsu Kishaku was the action of destroying Buddha statues in temples, as gods were originally more believed in than the Buddha, in a prospering movement of trying to bring back the old Japan.

There are people that say this movement was a mistake as, through research, it was found out that many historical documents and Buddha statues were also destroyed.

Currently

From then, 100 hundred years have passed. With the queen of England coming to see it being the trigger, Ryoanji has become the center of the worlds attention. The Stone Garden, which is also known as the Banzai Garden, is known by many in the world as well.

This Is The Highlight of Ryoanji!

In this part, we will list and explain the highlights of the popular temple that any people come to visit, Ryoanji!

Knowing this info beforehand will further your enjoyment of Ryoanji, so those who are going should use this part as a reference.

Banzai Garden

Where do you think the charm that keeps bringing people to the Banzai Garden lie?

Where it mainly is said to lie in is in the rocks that are laid down to signify water flow even though there is no water.

This is the famous charm that is understood internationally, not through words, but by sight alone.

Sanmon

Another one of Ryoanji’s highlights is the Sanmon!

Those who have visited many temples as a hobby may feel that the Sanmon isn’t very big at first sight.

However, it is done so to show less authority among the surrounding nature, but more of a nice welcome to visitors.

Kyoyochi Pond

Another highlight is the Kyoyochi Pond, which is said to have been enjoyed by people who owned a mansion in this area during the Heian period.

Kyoyochi Pond has been designated as a national scenic spot, and especially in the early summer season, many flowers are in full bloom. As such, we recommend it to those who not only love temples, but those who love flowers too.

Facility Info Ryoanji

We have explained the history and charm of the temple so far, but there are some things that you must be careful of when you visit.

That would be the seeing price and the business hours.

The seeing prices for adults to high school students is 500yen and for Elementary and Middle school students it is 300yen.

In addition, business hours are from 8:00 to 17:00 from March to the end of November, and other times vary from 8:30 to 16:30, so be sure not to mistake the times.

Furthermore, regarding access methods, it takes about 3,000yen and 20 minutes from Kyoto Station to here by taxi.

In the case of trains, you can take a bus from Kyoto Station or use the Hankyu Railway Omiya Station or the Keihan Electric Railway Sanjo Station as they are the nearest stations.

Knowing this information, you should be able to more richly enjoy worshiping.