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The 5 Best Gardens in Kyoto

The 5 Best Gardens in Kyoto

The 5 Best Gardens in Kyoto

The best gardens in Kyoto have been around for hundreds and even thousands of years. Japanese gardens are known for their exceptional aesthetics and the philosophical ideas behind them. These natural landscapes are grown without artificial ornamentation.

Visiting the best gardens in Kyoto is nothing short of refreshing. These gardens are cultivated and designed to soothe a person’s senses.

Without further ado, we present to you our five best gardens in Kyoto:

1. Okochi Sanso Garden

(Okochi Sanso Garden | Image Courtesy of 663highland / Wikimedia Commons)

Okochi Sanso is one of the top places to visit if we’re talking about the best gardens in Kyoto alone. It can easily rival any of Kyoto Imperial Palace’s properties and give you a run for your money. Located in Arashiyama district, Okochi Sanso offers not only one sight but a few within its premises, including a Shinto shrine and a lookout point overlooking the entire Kyoto. Even without a tour guide, it’s easy to navigate within the premises of Okochi Sanso. For around $10 (in USD), you can access the property and get a complimentary Japanese sweet and a cup of hot matcha tea on top. ALSO READ: 5 MUST-VISIT MUSEUMS IN KYOTO

2. Ginkakuji Temple Garden

(Ginkakuji Temple Garden | Image Courtesy of Jean-Marie Hullot / Flickr)

Ginkakuji Temple (The Silver Pavilion) is one of the most popular places to visit in Kyoto among local and foreign tourists. The temple premises boast striking vegetation like no other, making it one of the best gardens in Kyoto. It’s a stroll garden which makes it perfect for meditation and relaxation. There’s a trail at the back of the garden leading to a viewpoint of the city. However, the place can get really crowded during weekends and holidays. Ginkakuji Temple entrance fee costs less than $5 only. ALSO READ: THE 5 BEST NIGHT TOURS IN KYOTO

3. Sento Gosho Gardens

(Sento Gosho Garden | Image Courtesy of np&djjewell / Flickr)

The Sento Gosho Gardens is one of the properties of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Built at the same with the Sento Imperial Palace in 1630, the gardens were designed by well-respected garden designer and tea master Kobori Enshu. Emperor Gomizunoo contributed as well to the designed of the villa and gardens. The gardens are built around a large pond with a couple of islands, six bridges, and pathways leading to these bridges. Access to the Sento Gosho Gardens is free of charge, but you’ll need to be on a guided tour or a walking tour. You can apply for a tour via their website. ALSO READ: THE 5 BEST DAY TOURS IN KYOTO

4. Ryoanji Rock Garden

(Ryoanji Rock Garden | Image Courtesy of cquest / Flickr)

The Ryoanji Rock Garden inside Ryoanji Temple is a karesansui (dry landscape garden) and is one of the best gardens in Kyoto. As a dry landscape garden, the Ryoanji Rock Garden is devoid of water and filled with gravel or rocks instead to simulate the appearance of water. The Ryoanji Rock Garden is the most popular of its kind in Kyoto, with its 15 tones whose meaning of the layout remains a mystery. ALSO READ: TOP 5 MUST-TRY FOOD IN KYOTO

5. Shorenin Temple Gardens

(Shorenin Temple Gardens | Image Courtesy of Moyan Brenn / Flickr)

The Shorenin Temple, one of the five Monzeki temples of the Tendai sect, has two famous gardens: ryujin no ike and kirishima no niwa. Ryujin no ike is a garden pond at the main gate of the temple was built by Soami, a Japanese painter and artist. It’s filled with moss and surrounded by massive camphor trees.

Kirishima no niwa, on the other hand, was created by Kobori Enshu. At a distance from the temple buildings, you’ll appreciate the outstandingly designed gardens in all their glory. Up close, you’ll get that feeling of peace and tranquility passing through garden paths, a small shrine, and a bamboo grove.

That’s all for our best gardens in Kyoto list. Which garden are you looking forward to visiting?


Kyoto is the heart of Japan and has rich history and culture. Our walking tours will show you why. On our Walking Tours you will learn about the Old and New Kyoto, tradition, religion, history, food, and culture. Free Walking Tours in Kyoto | Kyoto Walking Tours. Book your free walking tour of Kyoto today.




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