Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple)

Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple) © Iry

Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple)

A temple in Kyoto’s important temple district, Higashiyama. Hokan-ji is between the Yasaka and Kiyomizu Temples and is commonly called the Tower of Yasaka. It’s a 46m high, 5 story pagoda with a tiled roof that was founded in the 6th century (Asuka Period) and has been rebuilt many times after a fire, the current building was built in 1440 by Ashikaga Yoshinori. It has been designated as important cultural property.

There are buses that pass through here on the way to Kiyomizu Temple. There are cobbled alleys with Japanese style shops at both ends and gazing at the iconic 5-story pagoda is a very emotional landscape unique to Higashiyama. Double back at Kiyomizu Temple and grab some souvenirs and sweets and enjoy a leisurely stroll down Ninenzaka Street.

The tower interior

In the interior of the Tower of Yasaka the main idol is the idol of Mahavairocana. If you go inside you will see the more than 1000-year old supporting pillars and stones as well as various Buddhas, and you can go up to the second floor and look out over the Kyoto skyline. However please be aware that the inner area is not always accessible.

Elsewhere nearby is also the Taishidou, Yakushido, and a tearoom, and in the Taishido you will also find an image of Prince Shotoku who is said to have founded the Tower of Yasaka. Prince Shotoku was royalty in the 6th century and was said to have been a cornerstone of creating the centralized state in Japan. He is a familiar historical figure to the middle-aged generation of Japanese because for 30 years up until the 1980s his face was drawn on ten-thousand yen bills.


Take the Kyoto city bus to Higashiyama Yasui (東山安井) or to Shimizu Road (清水道) and get off, and it’s just 5 minutes away.

Image Gallery: Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple)

Description: Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple)

Sights Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple) (八坂の塔(法観寺))
Address 388 Yasaka Kamimachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-551-2417 / Fax: 075-551-2417
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:10:00-16:00
Closed dates Irregular closed dates
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Tower of Yasaka (Hokan-ji Temple)