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World Heritage / Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Criteria: (ii) (iv) | Date of Inscription: 1994 | Location: Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures | Justification for Inscription


Things to see


Kodo (Main Hall)
Kodo (Main Hall)
Gilded folding screen
Gilded folding screen
Tenryu-ji Temple is located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City and is the headquarters of the Tenryu-ji School of the Rinzai sect of Japanese Buddhism. Its founder was Ashikaga Takauji and the first chief priest was Muso Soseki making Tenryu-ji a Zen temple related to both the Ashikaga Shogunate and the former Emperor Godaigo. Tenryu-ji is also considered one of the five great temples of Kyoto.
The precursor to Tenryu-ji Temple is said to have been Danrin-ji Temple; founded by the Empress Tachibananokachiko, wife of the Emperor Saga. In the 13th century though the Emperor Gosaga and his son Prince Kameyama built an imperial villa named "Kameyama Villa" on the site and following the death of the Emperor Godaigo in 1339 the Zen priest Muso Soseki recommended that the shogun Ashikaga Takauji build a temple to pray for the deceased emperor's repose. Takauji agreed and Tenryu-ji Temple on the site of the former Kameyama Villa was erected.
Tenryu-ji Temple grew in size to reach 330,000sq m and in stature to administer around 150 branch temples. Over time fire claimed many of the original buildings and most of the current buildings are Meiji period (1868-1912) reconstructions.
Chokushimon (Chokushimon Gate)
The Chokushimon gate is the oldest remaining structure of Tenryu-ji Temple and is built in the Momoyama style.
Hatto (Hatto Hall)
Hatto Hall was constructed in the hip roof, single layer style; a style used only at this temple to cover the main hall. The current hall however, is a 1900 reconstruction of the original and contains Shakasannonzo as its main image of worship under a ceiling painted by Suzuki Shonen and portraying a dragon in the clouds.
This pond strolling style garden was created by Muso Soseki and is set around the Sogen pond. Utilizing a view of Mt. Arashiyama and Mt. Kameyama (Mt. Ogurayama) as 'borrowed scenery', he created a wonderful garden with a splendid view. ("Borrowed scenery" is a Japanese method of using a distant view as if it were a part of the garden)
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