Tenryu-ji Temple (Sogen-chi Garden,location,history)

Tenryu-ji Temple, Sogen-chi Garden

The information about Tenryu-ji Temple is is presented here. Tenryu-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Tenryu-ji Temple once covered a large area in the Arashiyama and Sagano areas, and has become a symbol and landmark of the Arashiyama and Sagano areas. On the north side of Tenryu-ji Temple is the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Path (Chikurin-no-Komichi), which is popular with domestic and foreign tourists, on the south side flows the Katsura-gawa River, and on the opposite bank rises Mt. Arashiyama, a famous place for cherry blossoms and autumn leaves.

【Tenryu-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 68 Saga-tenryuji-susukinobaba-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Arashiyama-Tenryuji-mae bus stop (about 1 minutes on foot), Arashiyama bus stop (about 5 minutes on foot), Randen Arashiyama Station (about 3 minutes on foot), JR Saga-Arashiyama Station (about 8 minutes on foot), Hankyu Arashiyama Station (about 15 minutes on foot)

Tenryu-ji Temple is located northwest of Kyoto Station, and it is recommended that visitors take the JR San’in Line (Sagano Line) from Kyoto Station.

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00 (Reception closes at 16:50)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual Garden: Adults 500 yen, Junior High and Elementary School Students 300 yen (Garden and Buildings: plus 300 yen)

【Tenryu-ji Temple History】

On the site where Tenryu-ji Temple (天龍寺) stands today, Japan’s first Zen temple, Danrin-ji Temple, was founded by the empress of the 52nd Saga Emperor, Tachibana no Chikako during the Jouwa period (834-847). After Danrin-ji Temple was closed down, the Kameyama Sanso (villa) of the 60th Emperor Daigo’s son, Sakinochushoou Akira-shinnou, and the Sento Gosho (imperial palace) of the 88th Emperor Go-Saga, and then the Kameyama-dono (detached palace) of the 90th Emperor Kameyama were built. In 1335, the 96th Emperor Go-Daigo, the first of the Southern Court, founded Rinsen-ji Temple in the Kameyama-dono (detached palace) . Later, Emperor Go-Daigo and Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, came into conflict, and the Nanbokucho period (1337-1392) began, which lasted about 50 years, but in 1339, Emperor Go-Daigo died at Kinrinno-ji Temple in Yoshino, Nara. Tenryu-ji Temple was founded in 1339 by Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, at the urging of Musou Kokushi (Musou Soseki), to mourn the 96th Emperor Go-Daigo. To finance the construction of Tenryu-ji Temple, a trading ship, Tenryuji-sen (Zou Tenryuji So-sen), was maintained, and Tenryu-ji Temple was completed in 1345. Tenryu-ji Temple was originally called “Rekio Shisho-zenji Temple” from the era name “Rekio”, but was changed to “Tenryu Shisho-zenji Temple” after Ashikaga Takauji’s younger brother, Ashikaga Tadayoshi, dreamed of a golden dragon rising to heaven from the Oigawa-gawa River (Katsura-gawa River). In 1358, the temple buildings were destroyed by fire. Tenryu-ji Temple suffered frequent fires, and after 1358, it suffered eight major fires in 1367, 1373, 1380, 1447, 1468, 1815, and 1864. In 1341, Ashikaga Tadayoshi ranked Tenryu-ji Temple 2nd in the Gozan Jissetsu. In 1358, Ashikaga Yoshiakira, the 2nd shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, ranked Tenryu-ji Temple 2nd in the Kyoto Gozan. In 1386, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, ranked Tenryu-ji Temple 1st in the Kyoto Gozan, but in 1401, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga ranked Tenryu-ji Temple 2nd in the Kyoto Gozan. In 1410, Tenryu-ji Temple was restored to 1st in the Kyoto Gozan. It is said that at its peak, the temple area covered about 9.5 million square meters, , and it had 150 sub-temples. It is said that the temple buildings were destroyed by fire in 1447, and again in 1468 during the Onin War, and that only Hato (main hall) was rebuilt in 1523. In 1585, Toyotomi Hideyoshi donated the temple grounds to restore the temple, but in 1596 the Keicho Fushimi earthquake is said to have destroyed the temple buildings. In 1604, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st shogun of the Edo Shogunate, relieved Tenryu-ji Temple of its 7,020 koku of temple land. In 1864, the Kinmon-no-hen (Hamaguri-gomon incident) occurred, and Choshu-han clan retainers barricaded themselves in Tenryu-ji Temple, leading to attacks from the shogunate forces, the temple buildings were destroyed by fire. In 1877, due to the Agachi-rei (decree), most of the temple grounds were lost. In 1899, Hato (Main Hall), Dai-Hojo, and Kuri were rebuilt, and in 1924, Sho-Hojo (Shoin) was rebuilt.
*reference・・・Tenryu-ji Temple website

【Tenryu-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Sogen-chi Garden (曹源池庭園, Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Historic Site) is said to have been created by Musou Kokushi (Musou Soseki) in his later years during the the Nanbokucho period (1337-1392). Sogen-chi Garden covers an area of about 1,200 tsubo (about 4,000 square meters) and has two huge rocks in the center that resemble Ryumon-no-taki. There are also Sanzon-seki, Zazen-ishi, Ishi-bashi (stone bridge), Tsuru-jima (crane island), and Kame-jima (turtle island), and the garden is planted with wax plum trees, plum trees, maple trees, and other trees, are planted.
★Hato (Main Hall, 法堂) was built in the late Edo period (1603-1867) as Ungoan-zendo (Senbutsu-jo), and was rebuilt in the Meiji period (1868-1912) by transferring Ungoan-zendo. Hato houses statues of Shaka Sanson, Musou Kokushi (Musou Soseki), and Ashikaga Takauji. On the ceiling of Hato, there is a Unryuu-zu painting called “Happonirami-no-Ryuu” drawn by the Japanese painter Matazo Kayama.
★Dai-Hojo was rebuilt in 1899. Sho-Hojo was rebuilt in 1924. Dai-Hojo houses the statue of Shaka Nyorai. The statue of Shaka Nyorai was created in the late Heian period (794-1192) and is the oldest Buddha statue in Tenryu-ji Temple.
Tenryu-ji Temple Highlights

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Setsubun-e (節分会) is held every year on Setsubun. At Setsubun-e, people pray to ward off bad luck and invite good luck. At Setsubun-e, Daifuku-mame (bean) is thrown. Setsubun-Daichakai (tea ceremony) of Ura-Senke Tankokai is sometimes held.
★Tenryu-ji Shichifukujin Meguri (天龍寺七福神めぐり) is held every year on Setsubun. Visitors receive a fukuzasa bamboo branch at the main gate of Tenryu-ji Temple, and then visit seven sub-temples (Myochi-in Temple, Jyunei-in Temple, Yomei-in Temple, Shogen-ji Temple, Jisai-in Temple, Kogen-ji Temple, and Sanshu-in Temple) to receive an o-fuda (talisman) and wish for good luck for the coming year.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see plum blossoms (梅) is from early to mid-March. White, red, and weeping plum trees are planted in the front garden, Sogen-chi Garden, and Hyakka-en Garden, etc, and it is said that the scenery of plums, Tahoden, Sogen-chi Garden and Hyakka-en Garden is beautiful.
★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is around early April. About 100 cherry trees, including Somei-Yoshino and weeping cherry trees, are planted, and the scenery of cherry trees, Tahoden, Sogen-chi Garden is beautiful.
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is around mid-November. Maple trees and other trees are planted in Sogen-chi Garden, and it is said that the scenery of autumn leaves and Sogen-chi Garden is beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-881-1235 (Tenryu-ji Temple)

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Tenryu-ji Temple is the route to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Path (Chikurin-no-Komichi) on the north side. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest Path (Chikurin-no-Komichi) is popular among foreign tourists for its Japanese atmosphere. From Tenryu-ji Temple, a walk along the Katsura-gawa River on the south side or across Togetsu-kyo Bridge is also recommended. Mt. Arashiyama is a famous place for cherry blossoms and fall foliage, so it is recommended during the cherry blossom and fall foliage seasons.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Tenryu-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山