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Photo By: Abhijit Sen
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Hogon-in Temple

Hogon-in Temple in Kyoto features the Lion's Roar Garden, designed by Sakugen Shuryo.

By Abhijit Sen

Hogon-in Temple in Arashiyama, is arguably the most impressive garden that tourists visiting the area must see. It is a Buddhist sub-temple of the Rinzai Zen head temple, Tenryu-ji.

The temple was founded in 1461 and was initially constructed in the Kamigyo-ku district of Kyoto, which is now the center of the city. Zen Master Seichu Eiko was the first abbot of the temple. It underwent significant destruction during the Onin War. However, the temple was eventually reconstructed and relocated to its current site in Arashiyama, adjacent to the Tenryu-ji temple, during the Meiji period.

The Lion’s Roar Garden at this temple is a remarkable sight to behold. This classic strolling pond garden is renowned for its ability to blend in with its surroundings seamlessly. It was designed by Sakugen Shuryo, a Japanese Zen master and diplomat who visited Ming-dynasty China twice before creating this garden.

A Garden with Precise Details

Hogon-in Temple

Photo by: Abhijit Sen Borrowed scenery.

The garden has some unique features, such as “Borrowed Scenery.” It skillfully utilizes the background scenery of Mount Arashiyama to add depth to the garden. Near the entrance, there is a dry pond that represents the ‘sea of suffering’ of human life. Additionally, there is a dry-stone construct that represents the Dragon Gate Falls on the upper Yellow River in China. Legend has it that a carp that can jump these falls will transform into a dragon, which has become a symbol for a person attaining enlightenment and becoming a Buddha. Lastly, the garden features the Lion Rock and the Blue Rock.

At the entrance of Hogon-in, there’s a statue called Arashiyama Rakans. It represents the desire of Hogon-in for world peace and the spiritual freedom of all living beings. The temple’s main hall features a central Eleven-faced Kannon Bodhisattva, surrounded by thirty-three smaller attendant Kannon images.

Unforgettable Foliage

Hogon-in Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/shonen Don’t miss out on seasonal events.

The temple is a beautiful sight to see, adorned with fresh green leaves, lush moss gardens or colorful foliage in autumn. However, it is only accessible to visitors during some special times, such as spring and autumn.

You can now also witness the garden illuminated at night, which perfectly complements the stunning view of this historic garden during autumn. A breathtaking sight where the red-leafed trees seem to burst into flames with the changing light.

Things To Know

Other places of interest

Tenryu-ji Temple

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit for those interested in Buddhism, Japanese history, or traditional Japanese architecture. It boasts beautiful gardens and exquisite architecture and is located beside the Hogon-in temple.

Jojakko-ji Temple

This Temple in Kyoto’s Arashiyama district is also a great place to enjoy Japanese gardens and traditions. This 16th-century temple has over 200 maple trees and offers a serene atmosphere for relaxation and reflection.


The temple is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Last entry is at 4:45 p.m. Admission fee is ¥700 for adults and ¥300 for elementary and junior high school students

How To Get There


By train

From JR Saga-Arashiyama station, it takes 10 minutes to reach by walking.

If you are coming from Hankyu Arashiyama station, it’s a 10-minute walk.

By bus

By Kyoto city bus 28 from JR Kyoto station and get off at the Arashiyama Tenryuji-mae stop. It will take about 5 minutes to walk from there. Alternatively, take Kyoto bus 72 or 73 from JR Kyoto station and get off at Keifuku Arashiyama station. It’s another 5-minute walk from there.

Where To Stay

Kyoto Ranzan
  • 33 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥14,520 - ¥58,080
  • 4.1/5 (1,771 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel Kyoto
  • 12 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥112,760 - ¥379,860
  • 3/5 (17 reviews)
  • 0.1 km
Muni Kyoto by Onko Chishin
  • 3 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥101,400 - ¥224,250
  • 0.3 km
  • 11-2 Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Kyoto-shi Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-0007 Japan
  • ¥146,652 - ¥254,826
  • 4.33/5 (26 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Hotel Arashiyama
  • 1-3 Arashiyama Kamikawaracho, Kyoto-shi Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-0001 Japan
  • ¥9,000 - ¥37,000
  • 0.6 km

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