Nanzen-ji’s spacious grounds are located at the base of Kyoto’s Higashiyama Mountains and is one of the most important Zen temples in Japan. It’s the head temple of one of the schools within the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism. The history of Nanzen-ji dates back to the mid 13th century, when the Emperor Kameyama built his retirement villa at the temple’s present location and later converted it into a Zen temple. After its founding, Nanzen-ji grew steadily, but its buildings were all destroyed during the civil wars of the late Muromachi Period (1333-1573). The oldest of the current buildings was built after that period.