The pagoda of To-ji Temple soars above the suburban sprawl of southern Kyoto, reassuring the visitor that there’s still plenty of beauty left in the city.
Aerial view of Kyoto city from Kodaiji temple: twoKim images / Shutterstock.com
If you enter Kyoto from the south or west (for example, on the Haruka Airport Express from Kansai International Airport), you might find fall into despair as you approach Kyoto and find yourself surrounded by a drab expanse of shoddy apartments and gaudy signs so typical of most Japanese cities. Where are all the sublime traditional sights you’ve read so much about? Just as you’re starting to think you’ve been had, you’ll see the soaring spire of To-ji Temple’s pagoda rising above the sprawl to the southwest of the station. This will set your mind at ease and inspire you to start exploring the city.
While you could walk there in about 15 minutes from Kyoto Station, it’s not a particularly pleasant walk, so it’s better to hop on a local on the Kintetsu line from Kyoto Station and ride it one stop to Toji Station, from which the temple is a short walk. Whatever you do, if you’re in the city on the 21st of any month, DON’T MISS the Kobo-san Market, held on the temple grounds (best to go in the morning, when the biggest variety of goods are on offer).
1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku
8.30am-5.30pm, last entry 5pm
8.30am-4.30pm, last entry 4pm 20 September-19 March
Kondo, Kodo: Y500
Treasure Hall: Y500
Pagoda, Kondo, Kodo: Y800
Non-smoking area: Yes
10min walk from Kintetsu Line Toji Station
Official Website (Japanese)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass – here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy – here's how
- Get travel insurance for Japan - World Nomads is well-regarded (and here's why)