Walk Parks

Zen garden Rock garden Ryōan-ji


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  • A famous Japanese rock garden is at Ryōan-ji in northwest Kyoto, Japan.

    The garden is 30 meters long from east to west and 10 meters from north to south. There are no trees, just 15 irregularly shaped rocks of varying sizes, some surrounded by moss, arranged in a bed of white gravel/sand that is raked every day.

    The rocks of various sizes are arranged on small white pebbles in five groups, each comprising five, two, three, two, and three rocks. The garden contains 15 rocks arranged on the surface of white pebbles in such a manner that visitors can see only 14 of them at once, from whichever angle the garden is viewed.

    The garden is not attributed to any single designer, although it is commonly believed that a leading monochrome artist named Sōami (1480?-1525), in association with Daisen-in, designed it and laid it out. However, Ryōan-ji's records are contradictory and indicate some other makers, and the back of one of the 15 stones is inscribed with the names Kōtarō and Hikojirō, who might have been two of the workers that did the actual construction.

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