Kodai-ji Temple in Kyoto

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Domo arigato.
  • Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Chashitsu Tea Room Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Chashitsu Tea Room Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Tsukiyama Garden within Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

    Tsukiyama Garden within Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

  • Tsukiyama Garden within Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

    Tsukiyama Garden within Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

  • Walkway Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

    Walkway Kodaiji Temple Higashiyama District Kyoto

  • Otamaya Hall Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

    Otamaya Hall Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

  • Bamboo Grove Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

    Bamboo Grove Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

  • Ryozen Kannon near Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

    Ryozen Kannon near Kodaiji Temple in Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

Kodai-ji is one of the greatest Zen temple in Kyoto. The temple officially known as Kodaiji-jushozenji belongs to the Rinzai buddhist sect. The place is famous for its gardens. The gardens are designated by the Japanese Government as a historic site and place of scenic beauty. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Explore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
Architect and landscape designer Kobori Enshu (1579-1647) created several of the formal gardens. He was also responsible for the garden at Shoren-in in Kyoto. Many buildings and objects of the temple are important cultural properties of Japan like the Kaisan-do Hall (Founder's Hall), Kasai-tei (Teahouse), Shigure-tei (Teahouse), Otama-ya (Sanctuary), Omotemon (Gate to Sanctuary) and Kangetsudai (Moon Viewing Pavilion). Kodai-ji is an excellent example of the architecture during the Azuchi–Momoyama period (1568 - 1600).

  • Kodaiji Temple:
  • Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (last entry at 5:00 pm)
  • Admission Fee - 600 yen (Adults), 250 yen (Students), free (Children)
  • Entokuin Temple:
  • Opening Hours - 10:00 am to 5:30 pm (last entry at 5:00 pm)
  • Admission Fee - 500 yen (Adults)
  • Kodai-ji Sho Museum:
  • Opening Hours - 9:30 am to 6:00 pm (until 10:00 pm during Kodai-ji Temple's nighttime opening)
  • Admission Fee - 300 yen (Adults)
  • 3 places combi ticket (Kodai-ji Temple, Kodai-ji Sho Museum and Entokuin Temple):
  • Admission Fee - 900 yen (Adults)

My tips for local activities

Explore the best parts of my favourite city Kyoto with a local guide. The tour takes approximately 3,5hrs. Check out this page for more details.

History

In 1606 Kodai-ji temple was founded in memory of general Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598) by his wife Kita-no-Mandokoro (1548-1624) also known as Nene or Kodaiin. The shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) donated the money to built this beautiful temple. In 1789 most of the temple buildings burned down. Only some structures survived like the Kangetsudai (Moon Viewing Pavilion), Otama-ya (Sanctuary), Kaisan-do (Founder's Hall), Kasa-tei (Teahouse) and Shigure-tei (Teahouse).

Location

Map of Japan

Kodaiji is located in the Higashiyama District north east of Yasaka Hokanji Temple in Kyoto.
Address: 526 Shimogawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto

How to get to Kodai-ji?

  • 15min from Kyoto Station to Higashiyama Yasui stop by bus number 100 or 206 and
  • 10min walk from Higashiyama Yasui bus stop to Kodaiji temple

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Main Hall (Hojo) - In 1912 Hojo was reconstructed after a fire. The stone garden right in-front of the building displays interesting modern art pieces in spring and autumn. At night there is a beautiful illumination of these art objects.

Entokuin Temple - It is a small subtemple of Kodai-ji including two Zen gardens.

Kaisan-do Hall (Founder's Hall) - Kaisan-do is dedicated to the founding priest Sanko Joeki (1572 – 1650). He was also the 195th Abbot of Kennin-ji Temple in Kyoto. Inside the building you will find his statue and beautiful paintings by artists from the Tosa and Kano schools, which both developed during the Muromachi period (1392 - 1573). The elder brother and his wife of Kita-no-Mandokoro are also honoured there with 2 statues.

Rai-do (Worship Hall) - This name describes the huge outer section of the Kaisan-do Hall.

Zen Gardens - Enjoy the different garden styles like a rock garden (hashintei) or tsukiyama style garden (featuring a pond).

Iho-an Tea Ceremony House (The Cottage of Lingering Fragrances) - The tea house is known for its large circular window. It was designed by tea master Sen-no-Rikyu (1522 - 1591).

Otamaya - This small mausoleum is dedicated to Nene (Kita-no-Mandokoro) and her husband Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The interior design is called Kodaji Makie, a unique lacquerwork with sprinkles of gold and silver powder.

Omotemon Gate - The gate was re-located from the Fushimi Castle. It was constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Garyo-ro (Lying dragon corridor) - This wooden corridor connects Kaisan-do Hall and Otamaya.

Jinbaori of Hideyoshi - Toyotomi Hideyoshi was wearing this coat (Jinbaori) over his armour. This exhibition piece was made with silver and gold thread.

Bamboo Grove - The bamboo grove creates a beautiful atmosphere and is the perfect spot for a rest.

Tea Houses - There are many tea houses at the temple grounds, but you should not miss the Kasa-tei (Umbrella) and the unique 2-floor Shigure-tei (Shower of Rain) tea house. It was designed by Toyobo Sochin (disciple of Sen-no-Rikyu) in 1587.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

March

Illumination event at Kodai-ji (6th March - 6th of May)
Kodai-ji temple is open till 9:30 pm during that period. It is enough time to enjoy the illumination after sunset.

April

Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).

May

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).

August

Illumination event at Kodai-ji (1st - 18th)
Kodai-ji temple is open till 9:30 pm during that period. It is enough time to enjoy the illumination after sunset.

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

Illumination event at Kodai-ji (end of October - beginning of December)
Kodai-ji temple is open till 9:30 pm during that period. It is enough time to enjoy the illumination after sunset.

My 100 Best Moments in Japan

Train ride from Osaka to Kyoto

I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.
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