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Ryōanji, translated as Peaceful Dragon Temple, is a Zen Temple located in the northwestern part of Kyoto, Japan. This well-known temple was built during the 15th century, and is today best known for its Zen rock garden, which is regarded as the most famous of its kind in Japan. Apart from this renowned rock garden, the temple also includes a beautiful wooded garden and a relaxing pond inhabited by ducks and a goddess of good fortune. Legends and peace blend with the lovely atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage site to create one of the most fascinating places of ancient Kyoto, Japan.
Ryōanji is recorded to have been established in 1450 by Hosokawa Katsumoto, the deputy to the Ashikaga shogunate. Originally, the site of the temple was an estate of the Fujiwara family during the Heian period. Subsequently, the mountain villa of Lord Tokudaiji was built on the site, and it was this property that was given to Katsumoto. The villa was then converted into a temple by the Zen priest Giten Gensho (at that time the abbot of Myoshinji), who was invited to the villa by Katsumoto.
Temple - Fire - Onin - Wars - Decades
This temple did not survive for long, however, as it was destroyed by a fire during the Onin Wars that broke out about two decades later. Nevertheless, it was rebuilt by Masamoto, Katsumoto’s son. It has been recorded that the Hojo (the abbot’s hall) was built in 1499, and it has been generally assumed that the Zen garden was also constructed during this time. The Hojo, the Founder’s Hall and the Buddha’s Hall were destroyed in 1797 by a fire, and the current Hojo was brought to the temple from Seigen’in, a sub-temple of Ryōanji.
Ryōanji is best known for its Zen rock garden, which is commonly regarded as one of the most notable examples...
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