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Autumn in Ryoanji Temple

For the first time in a while, I visited Ryoanji (龍安寺) temple.

The temple with its old history since the Muromachi (室町) period, is world-wide famous for its rock garden. Interestingly, there is no record about the creation of the garden, such as by whom, how nor when it was created. Aside from that, there is one more mystery: the 15 pieces of rocks at the garden cannot be viewed at one sight. No matter how hard you may try, there will always be one or two pieces missing in your sight.

When I was there, some visitors were challenging to count the number of the rocks. Some were just sitting there quietly looking over the garden view…But at any rate, I have no doubt that garden charms our souls deeply.

At the back of the temple building, there is a Tsukubai (つくばい, washbasin) which is truly worth to see. The Tsukubai has engravings of four Kanji (漢字) characters, reading 吾唯足知, which is a part of the Zen (禅) Buddhism philosophy that means: Now matter what, I already have everything I need in my hands.” Very inspiring.

In addition, the other attraction is the pond called Kyo-yo-chi (鏡容池, the pond of mirror) in the premises. As you walk along, the beautiful scenery of four seasons will welcome you all through the year.

Zen temples are often not so gorgeous, but has a certain atmosphere for nourishing your peace of mind.

Akane Kibune
Kyoto Expert Certification 1st Grade