Toji Temple

Enchanting moment at Toji Temple's special night time exhibition

Text: Hiroko Konishi

 Toji Temple (also known as Kyo-o-gokokuji) is at the south-west area from Kyoto Station's south exit. 15 minutes walk to the Minami-ku will take you to this temple which was built in 796 as an east guardian temple of the main gate into the Imperial City of Heiankyo. It is the first esoteric temple in Japan and the head temple of Shingon Buddhism.

This historical temple has survived 1200 years until it was finally designated as a world heritage in 1994. It is now one of the most popular tourist spot in Kyoto that attracted visitors from in and out of Japan.


Autumn is specially crowded with visitors seeking for a chance to enjoy the red leaves, which the temple has in a large scale of around 200 trees.

The fact that it is located in a warmer environment within Kyoto and that red leaves remain longer than other places is attracting many people even until the cold winter. Most of all, there is the Japan's tallest Five-Storied Pagoda, beautiful trees of Japanese maple, gingko and Japanese enkianthus. It certainly is a spot tourists should not miss in Kyoto.

Toji Temple has started a special autumn illumination from 2015. The reflection of the leaves and pagoda on the surface of the garden pond during the night is so enchanting that staring at the scene may make you wonder which is real and which is the reflection.

This special night exhibition is from Friday 28th October to Sunday 4th December, 18:30-21:30 (last entrance 21:00).

During the daytime of this special exhibition period, temple's treasures and buildings will also be available for public viewing. The ground floor of the pagoda, northern part of Shumidan in the main hall and Kanjoin ceremony hall will be specially open for public view.

The ground floor of the pagoda has four Buddha statues located on a platform surrounding the main pillar, which is said to be the Dainichi Nyorai. Buddhist pictures and motifs are painted on the pillars and wall in the four directions that the statues are facing. 

Since it is located behind the Kyoto Station, busy travelers can enjoy both autumn leaves and historical heritage temple here.



ADDRESS: Kujo-cho 1, Minami-ku, Kyoto
PHONE: +81(0)75-691-3325 
HOURS: 8:00-16:30 last entry (the gate will close at 17:00)
ADMISSION CHARGE: 500 yen (Kondo & Kodo)
Special charge during October 28-December 4, of 800 yen (Five-Stories Pagoda, Kondo, and Kodo) 800 yen (Kanjoin)

★This is the end of TRAVEL IDEA ‘Very personal' Kyoto autumn tints tour guided by Kyoto photographer. by Toru Miyake. Please take a look at the other TRAVEL IDEA as well.