Kyoto, Japan - April 27, 2017: Hojo Hall and picturesque Sogen Garden or Sogenchi Teien with a circular promenade centered around Sogen-chi Pond in Tenryu-ji Zen Temple in Arashiyama. Springtime.

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Top choice in Arashiyama & Sagano

A major temple of the Rinzai school, Tenryū-ji has one of the most attractive 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.

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.

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Nearby Arashiyama & Sagano attractions

1. Tenryū-ji North Gate

0.08 MILES

By exiting Tenryū-ji via this gate and taking a quick left, you'll find yourself almost immediately in the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Grove.

2. Nonomiya-jinja

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This small shrine is where imperial princesses were sent for purification before serving at the Ise shrine. It features in the famous Japanese novel The…

3. Kameyama-kōen

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Just upstream from Tōgetsu-kyō and behind Tenryū-ji, this park is a nice place to escape the crowds of Arashiyama. It’s laced with trails, one of which…

4. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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The thick green bamboo stalks seem to continue endlessly in every direction and there’s a strange quality to the light at this famous bamboo grove, which…

5. Ōkōchi Sansō

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This is the lavish estate of Ōkōchi Denjirō, an actor famous for his samurai films. The sprawling gardens may well be the most lovely in all of Kyoto,…

6. Togetsu-kyō

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7. Rakushisha

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8. Jōjakkō-ji

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