Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
Most people head to Kyoto for the historical temples or the spring sakura (cherry blossoms), but Kyoto’s traditional rock gardens are a must-see. Lacking flowers doesn’t mean they lack beauty – the deliberate placement of the stones and the minimalist expressions in the sand, with pebbles placed to look like waves, are all carefully chosen to evoke a specific mood or mindset.
There’s much more than meets the eye in a traditional Japanese rock garden; many have abstract Zen dialogues hidden within their scenery, and some are stone re-creations of famous scenes from Japanese history. With a little bit of background knowledge, these static landscapes can come alive for you. Here are some of our favourite Kyoto rock gardens.
RECOMMENDED: The most beautiful places in Japan