Kyoto – Exploring Arashiyama – Tenryu-ji Temple

Sogen Pond Panorama II

View the large
Tenryu-ji [天龍寺] is part of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. This temple was founded in 1339 by Shogun Ashikaga Takauji in memory of emperor Go-Daigo [1288-1339], whom he sided with during the civil war which brought an end to the Kamakura Shogunate [1185-1333].


Earlier, the site had been occupied by the Danrin-ji Temple since the ninth century. Emperor Kameyama [1249-1305] built a villa on the property, where his grandson Go-Daigo was raised and educated. After Go-Daigo had passed away, a Buddhist priest dreamed of a dragon rising out of a nearby river as Go-Daigo’s uneasy spirit. Afterwards, Ashikaga Takauji ordered a temple built to appease Go-Daigo’s spirit [Japan Reference].


A few tress had only just begun to change colors. Next month, the leaves will create an absolutely spectacular sight.

Leaves are beginning to change

Behind the Main Hall is the Sogenchi Garden, which retains the same form as when it was designed by Muso Soseki in the fourteenth century [Japan Reference]:

Sogen Pond Panorama I

View the large
Tenryu-ji has been ravaged by fires no less than 8 times since its founding [1864 being the most recent].


Cathy @ Tenryuji

This butterfly waited about 30 seconds for me to get the shot I wanted:

Butterfly I

After visiting the temple, on our way to lunch, we spotted this lovely couple:


More Japan Travels

All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.

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