Koto-in, a Daitoku-ji Inner Temple

A special stone lantern & beautiful garden

By Tomoko Kamishima   Nov 7, 2014 - 2 min read

Koto-in Temple, established by Hosokawa Tadaoki (1563-1646) in 1601, is one of the many inner temples of the Daitoku-ji Temple Complex. Tadaoki was a military commander and daimyo during the Sengoku Period, and he served the top three supreme rulers, Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), and Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616). He also excelled in chanoyu (tea ceremony). The great Tea Master, Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), admired him and gave him a high position.

Although most of the inner temples of Daitoku-ji Temple are usually not open to the public, Koto-in and a few other temples are exceptions. So, some people visit this temple a few times a year during each of the seasons. At the entrance, the stone pavement which turns at a right angle is breathtakingly beautiful. The garden is simple yet nice. The front half is a tranquil mossy garden with a stone lantern sitting in the middle of it. The back of the garden has several Japanese maple trees scattered about in just the right balance. People sit on the wood deck and soak in the mood of Zen. Autumn leaves sway back and forth in the breeze.

In the rear grounds is the Tadaoki family grave. The gravestone of Tadaoki and his wife is an elaborate stone lantern. This stone lantern was left by Sen no Rikyu to Tadaoki. Rikyu broke the back of the lantern on purpose to prevent Toyotomi Hideyoshi from taking it for himself.

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