Toji Temple


As the only one left among two huge temples built on two sides of the main entrance to the Imperial City of Heiankyo, the Shingon sect Buddhist temple Toji is visible from the distance as you can see it's tall pagoda even from a window of a train pulling into Kyoto city then you feel like your train are spinning around it till it leaves you at Shinkansen bullet train platforms. The impressive pagoda of five stories is proud to be the highest wooden tower across Japan. This magnificent architecture reminds every Kyoto people as well as tourists of the beauty drawn by pens of religious spots which hides inside luxuriant foliage of trees but can not help to conceal the splendour itself.


Kyoto city used to be call the Imperial City of Heiankyo in 794 after Nara took the mission to be the capital of Japan. Kyoto at that time had an impressive structure of 2 areas staying symmetrically on both sides of an 84 meter avenue running north to the Palace. Toji temple was built in this context as one out of two guardian temples on the entrance to the Palace. Along with the West temple Saiji, Toji got it's name as the East temple. Unfortunately, the twin temple Saiji no longer exists nowadays, leaving Toji as the only remaining guardian of the ancient former capital. The temple was given to the great monk Kobo Daishi in 823 by the Emperor Saga. Kobo added several structures from the pagoda to halls into the whole architecture to make it the headquaters of Shingon Buddhism. Even though the main building was burnt down in fires, it was recovered with the original architecture to protect and save a huge number of Buddhist treasures inside.


Toji temple has a square precinct surrounded by sound walls with the infront gate called Nandaimon. Through this gate, you will meet Kondo Hall, the largest building of Toji rebuilt in 1603. Visitors are easily overwhelmed by the gorgeous beauty of the Indian tenjiku architecture under the double roof in japanese style. Three Buddhist statues including the Yakushi Nyorai, the Nikko Botatsu and the Gakko Botatsu are placed in special arrangement to represent the cosmology of Buddhism as the central is the Buddha of Medicine and the two others are the Bodhisattvas of Sun and Moon in turn. The Lecture Hall Kodo lies right behind Kondo at the center of the temple ground. The building is considered as a three -dimensional version of the Mandala representing the enlightenment world which is normally drawn in two dimensions with the principal Buddha Dainichi Nyorai in the center.


The Five storied pagoda reaching the height of 55 meters was built in 1644 with the entire structure sitting on a stone foundation and no pillar touching the ground. The pagoda houses 4 Buddha statues along with many Buddhist paintings and sculptures. In addition, there is a residence of the monk Kukai called Miedo constructed in aristocrat style which is special and unique among buildings in Toji temple


Open time: 
-From March 20th to April 17th: from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
-From April 18th to September 19th: from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
-From September 20th to March 19th: from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Admission to entry to the Kondo and Kodo and view the Five-Storied Pagoda from outside.
-Adult: 500 yen
-High school students: 400 yen
-Junior high school student and younger: 300 yen
-Preschool age children and infant: free
Miedo Hall and Jikido Hall: free of charge
How to access: 
-Take a 10 minute walk from Toji Station on Kintetsu Line
-Take a 15 minute walk from JR Kyoto Station at Hachijo-Exit
-Take a short walk from Toji Minamimon-mae, Toji Higashimon-mae, Kujo Omiya or Toji Nishimon-mae bus stops.