The Ryoanji Temple is located in Kyoto, Japan not far from Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion). Originally belonging to an aristocrat in the Heian Period, it was converted to a zen temple in 1450.
This temple is perhaps known the most for its massive zen garden. It consists of 15 rocks of varying sizes on small patches of moss within the zen garden. Funnily enough, no matter how you look, one rock will always be hidden from sight. However, there is only one vantage point that will allow you to see 14 of the 15 rocks. Visitors can challenge themselves to try and find this one spot.
The entry fee for this temple is 500 yen (a little under $5.00 USD). From March to November the temple is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from December to February the operating hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
This was one of my favorite places to visit when I went to Japan because of how at peace I was sitting at the zen garden. I spent at least a half hour sitting here and letting my mind empty of everything but the feel of the sun on my skin and the way the sand contrasted with the moss and rocks. I’ve not felt such a depth of peace since I left there and one day I hope I can go back and see the temple again, just to feel that complete oneness with myself one more time.