Ryōan-ji Temple and the famous ‘Zen Garden’

Monday morning, alarm went off at 6.30. Time to pack and checkout and get ourselves on the bus to see Ryoanji before we need to go back to Narita.

Ryoanji, or the Dragon at rest, temple has probably the worlds most famous Zen or rock garden. Another UNESCO World Heritage site, Kyoto seems to be full of them.
The temple is from around 1450, and the rock garden was probably made in 1488. Although no one is certain who build it and when exactly, some say Hosokawa Katsumoto or is son Hosokawa Matsumoto build it, others say the 15ht century monk Sōami.
Some also say it might have been built by professional gardeners, called kawaramono, and one of the stones in the garden has the signature of two kawaramono carved into it.

The garden itself is a rectangle of gravel with 15 stones in it, doesn’t sound very exiting but it actually is.
It’s 340 square meters of white gravel, within it are 15 stones, in 5 groups, (one of 5, two of 3 and two of 2 stones) and the only vegetation is some moss growth around the stones.
It doesn’t matter where you stand but you can always only see 14 of the stones at the same time (unless you look from the air). It is said that only when one finds enlightenment the 15th stone can be seen.

When you sit and look at it, it is a very peaceful ‘picture’ or environment, even with a school bus full of kids running around, the garden seems to emanates peace and quiet and silence.

Unfortunately time was not enough to see the whole temple complex.

Map of the site

Lilypond on the way to the garden

Somehow these lilies look unreal, but they are real and a proper flower

The garden

Path back to entrance. The ground everywhere is covered by moss

Moss carpet

Another lily

When I come home I am going to make one in my own garden by the creek. A lot smaller, maybe even within a container but based on the same principle and design



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