The Toji Temple is one of the original three Buddhist temples that were built in Kyoto at the beginning of the Heian period. In the year 796, the Toji Temple was built together with the Sai-ji and Shingon-in temples. Unfortunately, Toji Temple is the only one that has survived to this day.
The historic 5-story pagoda building is home to several significant artifacts and treasures, which resulted in Toji Temple being recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
About thirty years after the temple was built, Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism, was appointed high priest of Toji, and the temple became one of the most important Shingon temples alongside the sect's headquarters on Mount Koya.
Kondo Hall is the main hall — Toji Temple’s largest building. Built in the 8th century, the original building burned down in 1486 and was rebuilt in 1603. Inside the main hall are three golden Buddha statues that represent the cosmology of Buddhism.
The icon of Toji Temple, the original five-storied pagoda was built in the 9th century. The pagoda that you see today was rebuilt in 1644, after a series of unfortunate lightning strikes burned down the original building. Despite its tall stature, the pagoda is held firmly using only stone foundations. Its unique building blocks have allowed it to withstand earthquakes, leaving it still standing till today.
A large sakura or cherry blossom tree stands outside the ticket office at the entrance of Toji Temple. During spring, the area around the temple and sakura tree are spectacularly lit up at night. The night illuminations under the pink cherry blossoms add to the beautiful view of the temple grounds.
10-minute walk from To-ji Station on the Kintetsu Railway City Bus Stop To-ji-higashimon-mae 15-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station Hachijo-guchi exit
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