Tenryu-ji (天龍寺) is the head temple of the Tenryuji sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism and was first established by shogun Ashikage Takauji in 1339 to honor Emperor Go-Daigo. After its construction, it was deemed to be the most important Zen temple among Kyoto's Five Mountains (five major Zen temples). In 1994, Tenryu-ji achieved UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site.
Situated in Arashiyama, the temple is famed for its picture-perfect view of the Zen garden during peak fall foliage. The exquisite landscape garden was curated by famed designer Muso Soseki and has survived years of civil wars and accidental fires, remaining its in original form. Tenryuji's buildings were damaged by multiple fires throughout the years and was only able to be rebuilt with the help of shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the 1500s. However, only around 10% of the original temple grounds remain in present time.
Tenryu-ji also offers visitors the chance to experience dining like a monk — enjoy local Zen vegetarian cuisine, or "shojin ryori", at the temple's in-house restaurant.
15 minute walk from Arashiyama train station and easily accessible from Kyoto station via city or municiple bus.
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