To-ji is the head temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, and is registered as a cultural heritage location. The official name is "Kyoo-Gokoku-ji". It was built to the east of Rashomon after the relocation of the capital during the year of 794 in the Heian period. It once had a partner shrine, the Sai-ji, but it disappeared as it was not rebuilt and so only To-ji remains now. Later, the well-known Kobo Daishi was put in charge of the shrine by Emperor Saga.
It contains the most famous 5-story pagoda that can be seen from the Shinkansen, heavily symbolic of Kyoto. Construction began in 826 but for whatever reason it often caught fire, and the present tower was constructed by shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1644, It stands at 55m, one of the highest towers existing in Japan today.
There are plenty of things to see besides the pagoda. There is the main hall, the Kobo Daishi statue, Buddha, and structures that have been registered as national treasures. Inside the building is normally private, but during spring and fall, certain treasures will be available for public viewing such as hibutsus (Buddha images normally kept hidden from the general public) as well as the first layer of the pagoda. There are different charges for these, but they are worth a look. If you want to see them, check the schedule on the websites.
On the 21st of each month, to celebrate the anniversary of Kobo Daishi there is a festival held by citizens, and of course many tourists come as well.
From the JR Kyoto Stations' Hachjijo exit it's a 15 minute walk south. Or, by the Kintetsu Railway's Toji Station (東寺駅) it's a 10 minute walk.
Image Gallery: To-ji Temple
Description: To-ji Temple
|Sights||To-ji Temple (東寺)|
1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-691-3325 / Fax: 075-662-0250|
Monday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Tuesday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Wednesday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Thursday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Friday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Saturday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
Sunday:08:30-17:30 (Last entry by: 17:00)
|Closed dates||7 days open|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|