We make our way to the quiet and serene Arashiyama region to visit Tenryuji (天龍寺) the next morning. Tenryuji literally means “Temple of Heavenly Dragon” and is often deemed as one of the greatest Zen temples in Kyoto. The story goes about a priest who interpreted that the deceased Emperor was not resting in peace after dreaming of a golden dragon rising from a river. Hence, the temple was built at the former Emperor’s villa site to allay his spirit.
The charming Tenryuji
Mode of transport to the scenic Arashiyama region is via Randen Tram line. The one and only tram line in Kyoto which has been operating for over 100 years! That’s cool!
Tenryuji is just right across the street from Randen Arashiyama Station. It will be difficult to miss the big stone carved with Chinese characters “大本山天龍寺”.
The entrance fee for the main hall costs 100 JPY (S$1.2) whereas the majestic Sogenchi Garden will costs 500 JPY (S$6).
Tenryuji also suffered the similar ill fate like some of great shrines and temples in Kyoto…the buildings were burnt down and rebuilt several times. Only the Zen garden survived in its original form till today.
And here are some of the dragon pictures we come across while walking the halls.
However, the main hall with the Cloud Dragon painting was closed for renovation. This is where the painted dragon will always appear to be looking straight at you in whichever direction you view it from. Better luck next time I hope.
The beautiful Sogenchi Garden
The scenic Sogenchi Garden (曹源池庭園) is perhaps the main attraction. And rightly so, I can imagine just how wonderful it would be to visit here during autumn or cherry blossom season. Still, being here in the month of February didn’t take any Zen-ness away from it. The peaceful landscape around the garden has a very nice and calming effect in settling one’s thoughts.
Sagano Bamboo Grove
One Arashiyama attraction which is closely linked to Tenryuji is none other than the infamous Sagano bamboo grove (嵐山竹林). It’s just a short walk from the massive ground to the bamboo marvel. From the northern gate, take a left turn and follow the path, it will be hard to miss the bamboo trees.
The pathway flanked by rows of giant bamboos trees is truly a sight to behold, especially when the massive bamboo trees sway in the occasional wind. It’s magical to be strolling in this beautiful and picturesque setting.