Located in the Arashiyama (嵐山) district in Kyoto, Japan, Tenryu-ji Zen Temple (天龍寺 or “Temple of the Celestial Dragon”) with its beautiful landscape garden, Sogenchi Garden, is a must-go before heading to the nearby famous bamboo groves. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tenryu-ji was considered first among the five great Zen temples in Kyoto. You can read more about its history here.
Head here early in the morning to avoid the crowd and truly enjoy the spectacular views that the garden offers. Entry fees are ¥100 for the temple and ¥500 for the garden.
Before heading to the entrance of the temple and buying the entry tickets, there is already beauty to behold – smaller shrines with exquisite gardens and the striking Torii (鳥居). Don’t miss looking into each enclave.
Get your tickets at the entrance to the Temple, and leave your shoes at the shoes’ pigeon hole before stepping into the tatami-laid grounds of the Temple.
For the temple, you can sit and admire the landscape garden with its koi pond, rocks, trees and the forested Arashiyama in the background. It’s like a Chinese oil painting. Sit and let this beauty calm your mind, soul and heart. I let out a sigh at this view.
When you exit the temple, put your shoes back on and head to Sogenchi Garden on the right of this entrance. I recommend walking through the Sogenchi Garden with its ancient moss garden. pling thinks…they are so surreal that they seem to beyond this world. Be brave and climb the stairs for a different vantage point of the nearby bamboo groves.
I exited from the Sogenchi Garden, near the purification fountain. This exit leads to the nearby bamboo groves or forest. Once you exit, you cannot re-enter. So, slow down, and admire the tranquil beauty that this place has to offer.
How to get to Arashiyama and Tenryu-ji Zen Temple
From Kyoto Station, take the JR Sagano line (Platform 32, 33) to the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station. The train ride takes about 20 minutes.
From the JR Saga-Arashiyama Station, there are clear signs to indicate how you can walk to the Tenryu-ji Zen Temple.