Toji Temple Featured Image

Toji Temple

Phone: 075-691-3325
Address: 1 Kujocho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Business Hours: 10;00 - 17:00
Closed On: Open Daily
Parking: Available
Wheelchair Accessible ?: No
(Large Map)

A Hidden Gem near JR Kyoto Station

Toji Temple is one of my most favorite temples in Kyoto. It has a lot of things to see inside, it is very old and it has a beautiful 5-story pagoda. And on top of those, it is not as crowded as the other popular spots such as Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kinkaku-ji Temple (= Golden Pavilion), etc. Just 15 min. walk from JR Kyoto station. Really conveniently located.

One of the Oldest Temples in Kyoto

Five Story Pagoda of Toji Temple
5-Story Pagoda – the Tallest multistory pagoda in Japan

Toji Temple was originally built in 796 and it was one of the three temples officially certified by the Imperial Court at the time. The other two temples (Seiji Temple and Shingon-in Temple) no longer exist, so Toji Temple is the only one which has survived since then. After serving as a guardian temple for Heiankyo (= old Kyoto), Toji Temple was bestowed to Kobo Daishi (founder of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism) by the Emperor and he started using the temple as the central training facility for his sect.

The 5-story pagoda of Toji is the tallest pagoda in Japan. It was originally built in 826 by Kobo Daishi, but was burnt 4 times, struck by lightning. So, the one we see now is the 5th generation (restored in 1644). Building such a tall multistory pagoda required enormous labor and all the monks in the temple worked really hard in restoring the pagoda every time it was burnt. I like this pagoda, and when I stand quietly in front of it, I can feel energy devoted by those who were assigned to restore the pagoda over and over.

Other two major elements in the temple are Kondo Hall (= Golden Hall) and Kodo Hall (= Lecture Hall). Kondo Hall is considered the main building where Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha who cures all the diseases) statue sits. Kodo Hall served as the training center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. Inside Kodo, Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana) statue sits in middle of the hall surrounded by statues of various legendary guardian deities.

Chinese Legendary Animal - Hiiki
Hiiki – a Chinese Mythological Animal

In the northwest area (admission free zone), there is a building called Mieido Hall, which was the residential quarter of Kobo Daishi. In front of Mieido Hall, there are some statues including turtle-look statue with heavy stone monument standing on top of it. It is a Chinese legendary animal called “Hiiki” which was born from a dragon – it really looks like a turtle, but it has ears. Hiiki has a power to cure illness, so people who are sick go visit the statue to rub it with their hands with wishes to get well soon.

Getting There:
From: JR Kyoto Station
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #78 bound for Kuze Kogyodanchi and get off at Toji Minamimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Bus leaves from "Karasumaguhi" Gate and from "Hachijoguchi" Gate.
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #19 bound for Chushojima / Yokooji Shako and get off at Toji Minamimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Bus leaves from "Karasumaguhi" Gate and from "Hachijoguchi" Gate.
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #42 bound for JR Katsuragawa Station - Hankyu Rakusaiguchi Station and get off at Toji Higashimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Bus leaves from "Karasumaguchi" Gate.
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #16 bound for Minamiku Sogochosha and get off at Toji Nishimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Bus leaves from "Karasumaguhi" Gate and from "Hachijoguchi" Gate.
[Train] Take Kintetsu Railway and get off at Toji Station. About 10 min. walk from the station.
[Walk] About 15 min. walk from JR Kyoto Station "Hachijoguchi" Gate.
[Taxi] This may be the easiest way to get to the temple. Only about 5 - 10 min. from JR Kyoto Station "Hachijoguchi" Gate, and the taxi fare is usually less than Yen 1,000.
From: Keihan Gion Shijo Station
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #207 bound for Kujo Omiya / Kujo Shako and get off at Toji Higashimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Wait for the bus at Shijo Keihan-mae bus stop.
[Taxi] Less than 20 min. by taxi cab if the traffic is smooth. Taxi fare is about Yen 1,500.
From: Hankyu Omiya Station & Keifuku Shijo Omiya Station
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #18, #71 or #207 and get off at Toji Higashimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Wait for the bus at Shijo Omiya bus stop.
[Taxi] Less than 20 min. by taxi cab if the traffic is smooth. Taxi fare is about Yen 1,500.
From: Hankyu Kawaramachi Station
[Bus] Take Kyoto City Bus #207 bound for Kujo Omiya / Kujo Shako and get off at Toji Higashimon-mae bus stop. About 1 min. walk from the bus stop. Wait for the bus at Shijo Kawaramachi bus stop.
[Taxi] Less than 20 min. by taxi cab if the traffic is smooth. Taxi fare is about Yen 1,500.

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