Kyoto (京都), once the capital of Japan is a beautiful city on the island of Honshu filled with thousands of Buddhist Temples, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and very traditional wooden houses. One of my favorite city in Japan to explore, it is filled with many UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as many designated Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Kyoto (京都) is now the capital city of Kansai Region.
Toji Temple (東寺), literally meaning “East Temple” is one of Kyoto’s many UNESCO World Heritage Site, hence when the opportunity became available, I immediately joined the party in making the visit to check this beautiful place out.
To get there, we took the train from Osaka heading to Kyoto Station. Although Toji Temple (東寺) is reachable within only 15 minutes walk from the southwest of the Kyoto Station, we decided to take the Kintetsu from the Kyoto Line and getting down from Toji Station (total journey is less than 5 minutes, cost of only 150 yen). From Toji Station, we took a 5 minute walk to reach our destination, Toji Temple (東寺).
Details on Operating Hours and Fees:
- Opening Hours : 0830 till 1730 hrs (1630 hrs from mid September to mid March)
- Note : Last admission is 30 minutes before closing time
- Fees : 500 yen per person / 800 yen during special openings of the Pagoda
Founded at the beginning of the Heian Period in the late 700s, Toji Temple (東寺) has a large temple ground with a defunct sister temple Saiji “West Temple” flanking the south entrance to the city, serving as well as Kyoto’s guardian temples.
Kondo Hall is one of the original structure of Toji Temple (東寺), the temple’s main hall and one of the largest building. A large wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha flanked by his 2 attendants, Nikko and Gakko Bodhisattvas.
Next to it stands the Kodo Hall, added in 825 using to serve as the temple’s lecture hall.
Outside the paid area towards the west, stands the Miedo Hall (Founder’s Hall) where the status of Kobo Daishi is housed. There is also a Homotsukan Museum, also known as Toji Temple (東寺)‘s treasure house displaying several large Buddhist statues and other important artifacts. The museum is only open from late March to late May and late September to late November only.
Across from the Kondo and Kodo, is a beautiful garden and in there, stands Toji Temple (東寺)‘s 5 stories Pagoda that was originally erected in 826. Standing at 57 metres tall, it is the tallest pagoda in Japan and is now the symbol of both Toji Temple (東寺) and Kyoto (京都), as it can be seen from many different places across the city. In the Pagoda, housed 4 Buddha statues. Note : The Pagoda is irregularly opened to the public.
On every 21st of the month, from the early morning hours till 1630 hrs, there is a popular flea market held at Toji Temple (東寺). The lively market are usually crowded with vendors surrounding the paid temple grounds. There are a wide variety of new and 2nd hand goods on sale here. While for the antique lovers, do no miss the antique market held here every 1st Sunday of the month.