This rarely visited temple in Northwest Kyoto is a hidden gem. The garden is superb, the halls are elegant and the teahouse is sublime.
Toji-in Temple – Northwest Kyoto – image © Damien Douxchamps
Most visitors to Kyoto come to Northwest Kyoto to see the golden pavilion at Kinkaku-ji Temple and the mysterious Zen garden at Ryoan-ji. Without question, both of these temples are magnificent and well worth a visit. But, they are always crowded.
Few visitors realize that a short distance for these temples is the largely unknown Toji-in Temple, which is rarely crowded, even in springtime. If you love gardens, it’s well worth cycling, walking or taking a taxi from Kinkaku-ji or Ryoan-ji to this fine “secret” temple.
Toji-in is a Zen temple that dates back to 1341. It was established by Shogun Ashikaga Takauji.
The Hojo (main hall) and adjoining Reikoden (Hall of Sacred Light) are wonderful and worth exploring for the treasures they contain, the real attraction at this temple is the garden. The first one you will see is centered on Shinji-ike Pond, which is shaped like the kanji (Chinese character) for heart or mind. The western section of the garden is built around a pond shaped like a lotus flower.
Overlooking the Shinji-ike is the Seirentei teahouse, which dates back to 1457. The teahouse is a classic example of the wabi-sabi ideal of rustic simplicity that defines tea ceremony aesthetics.
63 Tojiin-Kita-machi, Kita-ku
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Non-smoking area: Yes
Nearest Transport: 10min walk from Tojiin Station, Keifuku Kitano line
See hotels near to Toji-in Temple on Agoda.com
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