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東寺 Toji Temple

  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
  • Fushimi Area
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  • ClosedOpen Every Day

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Maps are rarely carried out with accessing from mainland China.

Fushimi Area
1 Kujocho, Minami-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 601-8473, Japan
  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
Opening Hours
[March 20-September 19]5:00-17:30 (Admission time 8:00-17:00), [September 20-March 19]5:00-16:30 (Admission time 8:30-16:00)
Open Every Day
Date of post:2015/04/23

A temple with Japan’s tallest five-storied pagoda

  • Historic / Cultural Experiences

Situated at the south of Kyoto station, easily noticed by Japan’s tallest wooden five-storied pagoda, Toji is one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kyoto.

Its origin dates back to the 8th century, when the new capital was constructed and named "Heian" (literally meaning the capital of piece) by Emperor Kanmu(50th emperor of Japan/ 737-806). Toji was built along with Saiji as the guardian temples of the new capital. Toji, which literally means eastern temple, and Saiji, western temple, stood on both sides of the entrance gate of the new capital. Both temples and the gate were burnt down by fire and Saiji and Rajomon were not reconstructed.

Soon after the first construction, Toji was entrusted to Kukai (a grand master who propagated the Buddhist teaching) by the Emperor, and Kukai made Toji the central seminary of Shingon (esoteric) Buddhism and added various buildings such as the pagoda and halls. Since then, Toji has been the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism. The major buildings were damaged by earthquakes and fires but have been rebuilt to retain the original layout and the architectural styles.

Five Storied Pagoda: National Treasure.
This is Japan’s tallest five-storied pagoda, 55 m (180.4ft). The fifth reconstruction was completed in 1644. The pagoda is a structure used to house relics of Buddha. It is not open to the public except on special occasions. The former ones were burnt down 4 times by fires but by chance none of them collapsed in earthquakes!

Kondo (main hall): National Treasure.
Rebuilt in 1603, it is the finest structure of Toji. Wooden statues of Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha of Medicine) triad are housed in it.

Kodo (Lecture Hall): Important Cultural Asset.
Rebuilt in 1491, 21 wooden statues are located there. Among them, 16 are designated as National Treasures constructed in the early Heian period (9th-10th century). The arrangement of the statues is said to be a three dimensional version of mandala, center of Shingon Buddhism, depiction of Buddha’s world.

All the Buddhist statues and buildings are worth seeing and you will feel the solemn atmosphere apart from hustle bustles in the city.

As this temple is one of the headquarters of the Shingon sect, a lot of pilgrims visit it to complete their pilgrimage. They are clad in white and chant sutras in front of certain statues.

An antique market is held on the first Sunday of every month and a flea market on the 21st every month.

*Reference: home page of Toji

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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