Japan Kyoto Northern Higashiyama

Tenju-an Temple

Zen Gardens of Tradition

Photo of Tenju-an Temple, Japan (Tenjyuan, Nanzenji Temple 南禅寺 天授庵 by prelude2000)

Tenju-an Temple, a sub-temple of Nanzen-ji Temple, is renowned for its rock and pond gardens that showcase traditional Japanese aesthetics. This serene location offers visitors beautifully landscaped gardens, reflecting Japan’s rich religious heritage and garden design traditions.

About Tenju-an Temple

Tenju-an Temple is a cultural highlight within Nanzen-ji Temple, one of Japan’s prominent Zen temples. Originally an imperial villa in the mid-13th century, Nanzen-ji was later converted into a Zen temple, and Tenju-an has been an important part of this spiritual site. Despite historical challenges that affected Nanzen-ji, Tenju-an remains a beautiful example of Japanese garden design.

The temple features two main gardens: the karesansui (rock garden) and the chisen (pond garden), which provide distinct experiences. The rock garden’s simplicity and the pond garden’s verdant setting both foster contemplation. Visitors can reflect on the ephemeral nature of life, a fundamental aspect of Zen Buddhism.

The gardens are particularly striking in spring and autumn. Spring introduces fresh greenery and blossoms, whereas autumn brings vibrant colors, with special illuminations enhancing the experience. Koi fish in the pond add to the garden’s charm.

Positioned near the entrance of Nanzen-ji, Tenju-an can be a quieter spot for reflection. The temple is close to other significant features of Nanzen-ji, like the Nanzenji Sanmon Gate, the Hatto, and the Hojo with its celebrated rock garden and paintings. The Suirokaku aqueduct, dating back to the Meiji Period (1868-1912), crosses the temple grounds and provides a unique architectural contrast.

With its 17th-century hall, gate, and study, Tenju-an represents the essence of Japanese Zen culture and art, offering a glimpse into a time where nature and spirituality are closely linked. The temple continues to be a site of historical importance and spiritual solace.

Getting There the easiest way to reach Tenju-an Temple

T 09

 Kyoto Tozai Line

 5-10 minute walk (800m)

Around Tenju-an Temple

Tenju-an Temple

Japanese Garden in Kyoto


天授庵, 京都

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Updated 13 Mar 2024 • Report an error

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