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Ryoanji Rock Garden Kyoto

The famous Zed temple of Ryoanji is in Goryoshita-cho, located at the northwestern part of Kyoto in Japan.

The Ryoan-ji Rock Garden is at the site of this famous temple, which has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Brief History

During the Heian Period, the Ryoanji Temple was founded by Hosokawa Katsumoto on a site that was owned by the Fujiwara family. But the temple was ravaged in the Onin Wars (1467-77). Following the reconstruction work from 1488 to 1499, the temple was restored. It’s probably around this time that the Ryoanji Rock Garden was built.

Specialty of Ryoan-ji Rock Garden

The Ryoanji Rock Garden Kyoto consists of 15 rocks, which lie on a bed of white rake gravel. All the 15 boulders are covered with moss. The gravel is encircled by low walls. But the arrangements of the rocks have a spin to it. They have been placed in such a manner that no mater what angle you look at them from, only 14 of the rocks will be visible to you, unless of course you get desperate to have a look from above. In Buddhism, the number 15 signifies wholeness. The popular belief is that unless one achieves completeness through enlightenment, he/she won’t be able to see the 15th boulder.

Kyoto’s Ryoanji Rock Garden is considered to be the greatest magnum opus ever in Japan. Experts feel that the highly acclaimed dry-garden architecture of the Ryoanji Rock Garden signifies the highest level of Zen art. Though, the identity of the creator of this masterpiece is yet to be known. No wonder people say that a creation stands to transcend time when perceivers are mesmerized by the work and wonder who created it!

What differentiates Ryoanji Rock Garden from other great architectures of the world is not sheer technical brilliance or immense size, but the simplicity of the structure, which inspires introspection that drives us towards the divine `self-fulfillment’.
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