Daiunzan Ryoanji was built in 1450 by Hosokawa Katsumoto, who was deputy to the Ashikaga shogun.
Katsumoto received the villa estate of the Tokudaiji lord Saneyoshi, and made it the site for this temple, inviting the 5th abbot of Myoshinji.
Giten Gensho, to be its founder.
Only about two decades later it was burnt down in the Onin War, but Katsumoto's son Masamoto rebuilt it.
The hojo building was built in 1499, and it is believed that the rock garden was constructed then.
A fire in 1797 destroyed the hojo, founder's hall, and Buddha hall.
The hojo of its minor tenple, Seigen'in, was transferred hear and counstitutes the present hojo.
The 16th century hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi visited Ryoanji several times, and temple has a plaque which he personally wrote.
The tombs of Katsumoto, his wife, his son Masamoto, and otheres stand by that of the founder, Priest Giten.