Temples & Shrines: Tenryuji
Tenryuji Temple 天龍寺
Tenryuji, or as it is formally known Tenryu Shiseizen-ji (天龍資聖禅寺), is the head temple of the Tenryu sect of Rinzai Zen Buddhism.
Tenryuji was created in honor of Gautama Buddha, and was founded by Ashikaga Takauji. In 1994, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Prior to the founding of Tenryuji, the Empress Tachibana no Kachiko, who was the wife of the Emperor Saga, created a Buddhist temple named Danrin-ji on the exact same spot. In the mid-thirteenth century, however, Emperor Gosaga and his son Emperor Kameyama converted the grounds into an imperial villa.
Ashikaga Takauji later converted the villa into a temple in order to hold a memorial service for Emperor Go-daigo. Ashikaga's younger brother, Tadayoshi, was alleged to have had a dream about a golden dragon flying in the nearby Hozu River. "Tenryu" means "dragon of the sky."
The temple was enormously successful and grew to contain 150 sub-temples. Fire, however, decimated 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.
Tenryu-ji contains various Important Cultural Properties, including portraits of the temple's first priest Muso Soseki (1275-1351); a wooden carving of Gautama Buddha; illustrations; and a garden, created by Muso Soseki, one of the oldest such landscape gardens in Kyoto.
Another highlight of Tenryuji Temple is its hanchi or square entrance pond filled with lotus flowers.
The Emperors Gosaga and Kageyama are buried here.
Tenryuji Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994.
Tenryuji Temple in Arashiyama western Kyoto is located on the site of an earlier temple.
Tenryuji is just two minutes from the Keifuku Line's Arashiyama Station on trains from Kitano Hakubaicho or Omiya stations. Or take a city bus to "Keifukuarashiyama," bus #28. Alternatively, Tenryuji Temple is a 7-8 minute walk from JR Saga Station on the JR San-in Main Line (Sagano Line) from Kyoto Station.
By bicycle from Arashiyama.
Tatami-mat room at Tenryuji Temple looking out over a garden.
Book Hotel Accommodation in Kyoto