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Tenryu-ji Temple

A UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its beautiful gardens and exquisite architecture.

By Abhijit Sen

Arashiyama’s Tenryu-ji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is situated in the heart of Arashiyama and is considered one of the five major Zen temples in Kyoto. Its Sogenchi Garden is a nationally recognized historic site and a popular attraction for visitors from all over the world. The temple and garden are open to visitors throughout the year and attract many worshippers and tourists.

Tenryu-ji Temple Background

Tenryuji Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/farmer The temple is known for its exquisite architecture and beautiful gardens.

The Tenryu-ji main temple is a significant historical site that is steeped in Japanese history. It was constructed in 1339 in memory of Emperor Go-Daigo and belongs to the Rinzai sect. The temple was built in place of the former Emperor Go-saga’s Kameyama-den, a palace that once stood on the same site. The temple is known for its exquisite architecture and beautiful gardens, which are considered some of the best examples of Japanese garden design. The temple has faced numerous challenges over the centuries, including eight major fires, but it has been rebuilt and restored to its former glory. The current temple complex was reconstructed in the 19th century and features stunning traditional Japanese architecture and serene gardens. The temple also houses numerous important Zen artifacts and artworks, including the famous painting “Dragon emerging from the clouds.”

Temple’s Hojo, the main building, is a masterful example of Japanese style; its painted sliding doors and intricate wooden carvings are nothing short of stunning. A visit to the temple is an absolute must for those with an interest in Buddhism, Japanese history, or traditional Japanese architecture. Inside the Hojo, visitors can see an image of Shakyamuni Buddha, which has been designated as an Important Cultural Property. The Buddha sits on the altar, surrounded by a peaceful atmosphere that is conducive to meditation and introspection. The Hatto, or Dharma Hall, is another highlight of Tenryu-ji Temple, featuring images of Shakyamuni Buddha and his two chief bodhisattva disciples.

A Japanese Shakkei Garden and Seasonal Beauty

Tenryuji Temple

Photo by: PIXTA/ でじたるらぶ A magnificent transformation with every season.

The Sogenchi garden outside the temple is a peaceful oasis with a stunning pond that offers beautiful scenery from different angles. It was created by Muso Soseki and is a great example of shakkei (borrowed scenery) in Japan.

Visitors can delight in the garden’s beauty and witness its magnificent transformation with every passing season. During spring, one can enjoy the beauty of various flowers like weeping cherry blossoms, Yoshino cherry blossoms, rhododendrons, and camellias that adorn the temple grounds. In autumn, the temple grounds are a sight to behold with their vibrant hues of autumn leaves. During winter even the world of silver snow will captivate visitors.

From its stunning architecture to its peaceful gardens, Tenryu-ji offers visitors an unforgettable experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Things To Know


Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a popular attraction in Kyoto, located just a short 8-minute walk from Tenryu-ji Temple. It is possible to approach the grove from the side gate of the temple. The path through the dense bamboo grove is a unique and enjoyable experience that visitors shouldn’t miss.


The temple is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (the last admission is from 4:50 p.m.) To enter the garden, tickets for adults are ¥500. Elementary and middle school students get in for ¥300 and preschool-aged children enter for free. To enter Tenryu-ji Garden the other buildings in the complex, it costs an additional ¥300.

How To Get There


By train

If you are coming by train, you can take any of the following lines: Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line, JR Sagano Line or Hankyu Line.

By Keifuku Dentetsu Arashiyama Line, get off at Arashiyama Station and walk for 5 minutes to reach Tenryu-ji.

By JR Sagano Line, get off at Saga-Arashiyama Line and walk for 13 minutes.

By Hankyu Line, get off at Arashiyama Station and walk for 15 minutes.

By bus

Take any Shi Bus or Kyoto Bus.

If you take the Shi Bus Line, take bus numbers 11, 28, or 93 and get off at the Arashiyama Tenryu-ji Mae bus stop.

If you take the Kyoto Bus Line, take bus numbers 61, 72, or 83 and get off at the Arashiyama Tenryu-ji Mae bus stop.

Where To Stay

Kyoto Ranzan
  • 33 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥15,730 - ¥50,820
  • 4.1/5 (1,771 reviews)
  • 0.3 km
Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel Kyoto
  • 12 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥118,566 - ¥429,534
  • 3/5 (17 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Muni Kyoto by Onko Chishin
  • 3 Sagatenryuji Susukinobabacho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8385 Japan
  • ¥96,330 - ¥274,171
  • 0.4 km
  • 11-2 Arashiyama Genrokuzancho, Kyoto-shi Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-0007 Japan
  • ¥146,652 - ¥254,826
  • 4.33/5 (26 reviews)
  • 0.6 km
Hotel Binario Saga Arashiyama
  • 3-4 Sagatenryuji Hiromichicho, Kyoto-shi Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, 616-8372 Japan
  • ¥14,630 - ¥17,765
  • 4.4/5 (700 reviews)
  • 0.7 km

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