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Finding Zen: Kyoto's Best Gardens

By Viator, August 2017

3.5 9 Reviews | Add your review

Kyoto's history as the former capital of Japan and a leader in architecture and design makes it one of the best cities to see traditional Japanese gardens. From temple zen gardens to lush green spaces, here are the spots you won't want to miss.

Ryoan-ji
This temple is one of the most popular in the city, famous for its zen rock garden frequented by monks and travelers. Wander the grounds and find peace at the sparse, dry garden before checking out the temple's main buildings. If you're interested in learning about dry landscape gardens, consider a scholar-led walking tour of Kyoto's landscape.

Okochi-sanso Villa
The Okochi-sanso Villa is one of Kyoto's best gardens for a stroll thanks to its lush green environment. A stone pathway winds through the area, where green growth of every variety greets visitors. Okochi-sanso Villa is a popular stop on Arashiyama and Sagano walking tours—be sure to also visit the nearby Sagano bamboo groves.

Tenryu-ji Temple
Built in 1345 and declared a UNESCO World-Heritage site in 1994, this zen temple features a beautiful garden with a circular pattern that surrounds the Sogen Pond. Tenryu-ji was designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty of Japan for good reason.

Myoshin-ji Temple 
The pond garden at Myoshin-ji is one of Kyoto's most modern outdoor spaces. Constructed in the 1960s, the garden shows off design from the Showa period meant for contemplation and appreciation of beauty. 

Sento Gosho Garden
The walled garden in the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park is reminiscent of ancient era when moats and wide-open spaces were more common than towering high rises. You'll find more greenery and ponds than buildings at Sento Gosho, which can only be visited on guided tours.

Tours & Tickets

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Arashiyama and Sagano Morning Walking Tour, Kyoto, null
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Arashiyama and Sagano Morning Walking Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 60 Reviews

Stroll through dense bamboo groves to hidden mountain temples and discover centuries of Japanese heritage on this 4-hour Arashiyama and Sagano walking tour. ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $82.42
Private Scholar-led Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape, Kyoto, Walking Tours
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Private Scholar-led Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape

4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

This 3-hour private walking tour of Kyoto’s beautiful Japanese gardens takes you to several Zen Buddhist temples with a local scholar. Admire Mirror Pond at ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $430.00
Scholar-led Small-Group Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape, Kyoto, Private ... 
TVRM_SORTED : false ESSENTIAL : ADMISSION :

Scholar-led Small-Group Kyoto Walking Tour: Japanese Gardens and Landscape

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 3 Reviews

Garden and landscape design is an art form that has shaped Japanese aesthetics for centuries. On this 3-hour scholar-led walking tour of Kyoto, you’ll see a ...  Read more

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00

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