Ryōan-ji

Kyoto, Japan

Ryōan-ji

8.8

Ryōan-ji (Shinjitai: 竜安寺, Kyūjitai: 龍安寺, The Temple of the Dragon at Peace) is a Zen temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan. It belongs to the Myōshin-ji school of the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism. The Ryōan-ji garden is considered one of the finest surviving examples of kare-sansui ("dry landscape"), a refined type of Japanese Zen temple garden design generally featuring distinctive larger rock formations arranged amidst a sweep of smooth pebbles (small, carefully selected polished river rocks) raked into linear patterns that facilitate meditation. The temple and its gardens are listed as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The site of the temple was an estate of the Fujiwara clan in the 11th century. The first temple, the Daiju-in, and the still existing large pond were built in that century by Fujiwara Saneyoshi. In 1450, Hosokawa Katsumoto, another powerful warlord, acquired the land where the temple stood. He built his residence there, and founded a Zen temple, Ryōan-ji. During the Ōnin War between the clans, the temple was destroyed. Hosokawa Katsumoto died in 1473, and in 1488 his son, Hosokawa Masamoto, rebuilt the temple.




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