The solemn stones set into the sand at Ryoan-ji's rock garden has become one of Japan's quintessential images. The simple arrangement can be viewed as an oasis for contemplation or a riddle to train the mind. From any single vantage point, only 14 of the 15 stones can be seen. In the Buddhist tradition, 15 is a number that signifies completion, and it is supposed that the garden's message is that, in this world, completion is not possible. As mystical as the experience
may be for some, you will be hard up to get time alone with your thoughts. The destination draws crowds by the busloads. If you need a moment to yourself, head to the small restaurant on the temple grounds. Buses 50, 55, and 59 stop at Ryoan-ji-mae.