Kozan-ji Temple

Kozan-ji Temple © Iry

What is Kozan-ji Temple

Kozan-ji Temple is a Shingon sect temple located in the mountainous area away from Kyoto’s city center.  It was founded in the Nara period (710-794) and later became a branch temple of Jingo-ji Temple, however, during the Kamakura period (1185-1333) Emperor Gotoba gave this land to a high priest, Myoeshonin, and it was revived as Kozan-ji Temple in 1206.

During the Middle Ages, the temple buildings were destroyed by various wars and fires and the only building left from the Kamakura period revival is the Sekisuiin Hall, a national treasure.  Sekisuiin Hall is representative of the Kamakura period’s early Shindendukuri architectural style and is designated as a historically important building.  Mukaiyama Mountain, which sits behind Kiyotakigawa River, can be viewed from south side of Sekisuiin Hall.  Looking out from within Sekisuiin Hall, the pillars and Shitomi doors frame this beautiful view, and this has become a drawing point for visitors.

Another famous item of Kozan-ji Temple is Chyojyujinbutsugiga, a national treasure.  This is a picture scroll that has been passed down through the generations and is a caricature drawing of animals and people that reflect the social conditions of the times.  It is regarded as Japan’s oldest comic drawing.  The real picture scroll has been placed at the Tokyo National Museum and Kyoto National Museum and only the replica remains at Kozan-ji Temple.  In addition, Myoeshonin Jyjyozazenzo and Kukai’s Tenreibanjyomeigi (Oldest Japanese dictionary of Chinese characters) have been designated as national treasures and are housed at Kozan-ji Temple.

Kozan-ji Temple is also known as the very first place where tea was made in Japan.  Buddhist priest, Eisai Zenji, brought seeds of tea trees back from Song, China, and they were planted and grown by Myoeshonin.  It was discovered that tea had an effect of keeping people awake and was soon sought after by monks in training.


3 minute walk from the "Toganoo" stop on the JR Bus.

Image Gallery: Kozan-ji Temple

Description: Kozan-ji Temple

Sights Kozan-ji Temple (高山寺)
Address Kyoto, Ukyo-ku, Umegahata Toganoo-cho 8
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-861-4204 / Fax: 075-865-1848
Duration 1Hour(s)
Business Hours Monday:08:30-17:00
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Pay admission: 600yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Kozan-ji Temple