Every time autumn lingers on the mountain area Takao in the northern side of Kyoto city, every single leaf hanging on branches of mountain trees will be dyed in dazzling red and the whole mountains will burn in fire of season. The blazing fire believed to immerse everything in dust and ashes amazingly can not catch the wooden structure of Jingoji, the hidden temple in heart of Takao mountain area, even lit it up in brilliant light of nature. Jingoji temple in autumn is an outstanding example for Japanese art of installation, the way they put religion in the middle of trees and mountains to make the most harmonious beauty in such a large scale.
Jingoji has considered as one of the main temples of Koyasan Shingon sect, said to be named Taksaosanji when it was established in 781 as one of five temples in Atago area. The temple was merged with an other from Osaka in 824 by the statesman Wakeno Kiyomaro then renamed Jingokokusoshingonji, following his desire to create a divine protection for the whole country by a Shingon sect temple. Jingoji at that time played an important role in Japanese religious culture as it was visited and even became stage for lectures of famous priests in Japanese history. The founder of Shingon sect Kukai came to Jingoji in 809 and spent 14 years staying here as the head priest of the temple. The reputation of Jingoji was gradually declined in the following years, however, the great Toyotomi Hideyoshi and later the Tokugawa family helped to recovered it in 16th century.
Lying on the hillside of Takao mountain, Jingoji temple can only be reached by crossing a long stone upstairs coming sharply through luxuriant woods, over a little clear and cool stream. Along the hiking trail, cottage roofs of small and short restaurants slightly tilt under red and yellow foliage of autumn trees, raising a little warm feeling in your hard beating heart as you are climbing up to the temple. Samon is an impressively giant gate staying soundly by verdant luxuriant foliage in summer and magnificent red leaves in autumn. Through this gate, you will meet Godaido Hall on your left and Bishamondo on your right, these buildings will be most splendid under dazzling autumn leaves.
Wandering around Jingoji precinct with little pieces of garden dotted with colored leaves on mossy ground, you can catch some other important establishments of the temple including the mausoleum of Wakeno Kiyomaro, the Daishido Hall, Myoohdo Hall and the Pagoda Tahoto constructed in 1935. The main hall Kondo built in the same year with the pagoda houses a standing statue of the Yakushi Nyorai Buddha along many important cultural assets. People often pour up into Jingoji in seasons of red maples. In the vast space of red maples, they enjoy the beautiful countryside scene of the Kiyotaki village on the foot of mountains.