sights / Religious

Tenryū-ji information

Kyoto , Japan
68 Susukinobaba-chō, Saga-Tenryū-ji, Ukyō-ku
Getting there
Bus: Kyoto City bus 28 from Kyoto Station to Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae
Train: JR Sagano/San-in line to Saga-Arashiyama or Hankyū line to Arashiyama, change at Katsura
admission ¥600
Opening hours
8.30am-5.30pm, to 5pm 21 Oct-20 Mar
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This fine temple has one of the most attractive stroll gardens in all of Kyoto, particularly during the spring cherry-blossom and autumn-foliage seasons. The main 14th-century Zen garden, with its backdrop of the Arashiyama mountains, is a good example of shakkei (borrowed scenery). Unfortunately, it’s no secret that the garden here is world class, so it pays to visit early in the morning or on a weekday.

Tenryū-ji is a major temple of the Rinzai school. It was built in 1339 on the old site of Go-Daigo’s villa after a priest had a dream of a dragon rising from the nearby river. The dream was seen as a sign that the emperor’s spirit was uneasy and so the temple was built as appeasement – hence the name tenryū (heavenly dragon). The present buildings date from 1900. You will find Arashiyama’s famous bamboo grove situated just outside the north gate of the temple.