Five Kyoto Gardens Not to Miss

To know Kyoto is to know its gardens, which at their best express an admirable quest for beauty, harmony, and discreet joy. Below are five exquisite examples not to be missed.

Daitoku-ji

This Zen temple complex shelters some of Kyoto's finest contemplative gardens, most notably the rock-and-gravel garden at the subtemple Daisen-in.

Heian Jingu Shrine

In conceiving the stroll garden at this late-19th-century shrine honoring Kyoto's founding, designer Ogawa Jihei took inspiration from some of the city's original 1,200-year-old gardens.

Koinzan Saiho-ji

More than a hundred varieties of moss carpet the one-of-a-kind two-level garden at this appropriately named landmark, the Moss Temple.

Konchi-in

Of all the gardens in Japan, the one at this subtemple of Nanzen-ji most closely resembles the designs of Kobori Enshu, a famous 17th-century landscape gardener.

Ryoan-ji

The world's most renowned Zen dry rock garden continues to intrigue scholars and visitors alike for the subtle message of its meticulous design.

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