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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tenryuji Temple Kyoto

Tenryuji TempleOn a slightly overcast early March Saturday, my daughter and I rode the Keifuku train up to Arashiyama and spent a couple of hours in Tenryuji Temple. When you get off at Arashiyama Station, the last terminus, you go out and turn right, cross the street, and walk about 100 meters.

Tenryuji, or as it is formally known Tenryu Shiseizen-ji, is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It was created in honor of Gautama Buddha, and in 1994 became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Temple is justly known for its gardens, which are best seen either during the fall or in late March when the cherry trees are in bloom.

You enter off the main road that runs through Arashiyama, in the west of Kyoto, and then walk far back into the grounds of the temple. To enter the temple costs 500 yen (300 for children), and another 150 yen if you want to go into the main hall.

Before it became a temple, in 1339, the land that is Tenryuji was a villa. The villa was later converted into a temple in order to hold a memorial service for Emperor Go-daigo.

Tenryuji TempleTenryuji was wildly successful and expanded far to the east; at one point it contained as many as 150 sub-temples. Fire, however, destroyed the temple in 1358, 1367, 1373, 1380, 1447, and 1467. It was rebuilt following further destruction during the Onin War, again burned in 1815, and lost many temples and artifacts during the Hamaguri Rebellion in 1864.

After we hit our daily limit of culture, we headed back to the Station and had crepes. Then, inside the station, we soaked our feet in a small hot spring. It cost 150 yen, and we each got a small towel to dry off afterwards. The “hot spring” has two tables, and you sit around them with other tourists and locals and soak your weary feet.

Access

Two minutes from the Keifuku Line's Arashiyama Station. Or take a city bus to "Keifukuarashiyama." A 7-8 minute walk from JR Saga Station.
Tel: 075-881-1235
68 Susukinobaba-cho, Tenryuji, Saga, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto.

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