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Tenryū-ji is a large Rinzai branch Zen temple located close to Tōgetsu Bridge and the center of Arashiyama. Originally built as a villa for Emperor Go-Daigo (1288–1339), the villa was converted to a temple in 1339, and has since burnt down multiple times. As one of the five major Rinzai temples in Kyōto, several sub-temples are within its precincts, some of them (e.g. Hōgon-in) regularly open to the public, while others remain closed to visitors. The layout of Tenryū-ji is similar to those of other Rinzai head temples. Between the main gate and the Dharma Hall lies a Lotus pond with a bridge over its center. While several sub-temples are to this main path’s left and right, the abbot’s quarters are located behind the Dharma Hall. There, visitors can stroll around the majestic Sōgenchi Garden, a vast wet landscape garden famous for its many flowers. Visitors can also visit the inside of the buildings.
Due to its location, Tenryū-ji tends to get very packed with visitors. However, as for every major tourist attraction on this planet, if you manage to arrive for opening time — which is 7.30 AM during autumn season — you can usually enjoy the first hour or so in relative solitude. Lying at the Western end of the Kyōto basin, morning is perhaps also the time when Tenryū-ji is most beautiful, with the sunlight softly illuminating the pond and its surroundings.

Admission: open year-round, separate fee for entrance to buildings
Nearby places of interest: Bamboo Grove, Ōkōchi Sansō, Arashiyama Park

After the rain. Tenryū-ji temple. November 2019.

After the rain. Tenryū-ji temple. November 2019.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬