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Tofukuji, Kyoto


Tofukuji, Kyoto

Tofukuji (東福寺) is a large Zen temple located in Kyoto's Hygashiyama ward.

It was established in 1236 and it is the head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism.

Most of the temple's buildings have burnt down several times throughout the centuries, but have been reconstructed or restored according to their original plans.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

Opening Times & Admission


Open 9 am to 4 pm.

Admission is 1000 yen and it grants access to the Hojo, the Gardens, Kaisando Hall and Tsutenkyo Bridge.

The area containing the Sanmon Gate, small torii and Main Hall is free to enter.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

How to get there


Tofukuji is a 7-minute walk from Tofukuji Station on the Nara Line or the Keihan Main Line.

From Fushimi Inari Taisha it is a 20-minute walk.

Address: 15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0981, Japan


Tofukuji, Kyoto

After a wonderful (re)visit to Fushimi Inari Taisha early in the morning, I also decided to revisit Tofukuji. I have previously visited this magnificent temple and had to come back to get another look at all the beautiful structures and gardens it has to offer.

The Sanmon Gate


Tofukuji, Kyoto

If walking from Fushimi Inari, the first building encountered is the Sanmon.

The Sanmon Gate has burned down a few times throughout the years, with the current reconstruction dating from 1425.

It is Japan's oldest Sanmon and has been designated as a National Treasure Building of Japan in 1952.


Tofukuji, Kyoto


Jusanjunoto & Shotoro


Tofukuji, Kyoto

Before heading to the Main Hall, to one side of the Sanmon, you will see a few stone torii and vermillion-coloured wood torii, in the same style as Fushimi Inari, but on a smaller scale.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

If you walk underneath them and up the stairs, you will see the Thirteen-Story Stone Pagoda and, a bit further up, a small Bell Tower.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

On both visits, it was very peaceful, with only one or two people around, so I had enough time and space to appreciate everything.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

The Hondo


Tofukuji, Kyoto

The Main Hall, an imposing structure, is a more recent reconstruction, dating back to 1933.


The Hojo


Tofukuji, Kyoto

The Hojo is normally the Monks' residence in a Zen Temple, but this one serves as a reception room.


Tsutenkyo Bridge


Tofukuji, Kyoto

The bridge connects the Hojo with the Kaisando and it is a highly popular spot to see the autumn foliage. I went there during spring on both my visits and I found it to be spectacular. I can only imagine how fantastic it looks later in the year.


Tofukuji, Kyoto



Kaisando Hall


Tofukuji, Kyoto

The Kaisando is the Mausoleum for Enji Benen (Shoichi Kokushi), the founder of the temple. The building is closed to the public, but you can still walk around to admire both the architecture and the garden.


Honbo Garden



Tofukuji prides itself on being the only temple with gardens surrounding the Abbot's Hall (Hojo) on all four sides. The gardens were designed in 1939 by Shigemori Mirei, a well-known landscape architect who designed more than 200 gardens.

The Honbo Garden has been designated as a National Site of Scenic Beauty.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

Aizendo


Tofukuji, Kyoto

This red-lacquered octagonal hall enshrines Aizen Myoo and was moved to Todaiji from Manjuji Temple in 1933.


Tofukuji, Kyoto

Overall, Tofukuji Temple is fascinating and highly worth a visit when in Kyoto.

If you want to take your time and fully explore everything this beautiful temple has to offer, set aside 2-3 hours for your visit.


Have you ever been to Tofukuji? If so, I would love to hear all about it, in the comments below.

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I hope life is treating you well.

Take care.


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