Attraction Kōdai-ji, Japan, 〒605-0825 京都府京都市 東山区下河原町八坂鳥居前下る下河原町526 Published on: 29-02-2016
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Why Kodai-ji Temple is special ?
Kōdai-ji, formally identified as Buzan Kōdai-ji, is a temple of the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan—the largest sun temple of the Kennin-ji branch. It was established in 1606 by Nene (often known by the title Kita no Mandokoro, and who had taken the name Kōdai-in), the widow of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, to pray for her late husband. The principal image is a statue of Shaka.
The temple possesses a number of objects designated as Important Cultural Assets. Among these are the Main Gate and the Spirit Hall, noted for its use of maki-e. The temple is nicknamed the maki-e temple." It also holds paintings, including one of Hideyoshi, as well as textiles, and a bronze bell with an inscription dating it to 1606.
The gardens of Kōdai-ji are a nationally-designated Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty.
What to explore at Kodai-ji Temple?
Visitors can enter Kodaiji main hall (Hojo), which was originally covered in lacquer and gold, but was rebuilt in a more modest style after it burned down in 1912. One of the gardens is a rock garden consisting of a large field of raked gravel meant to represent the vast ocean. The other garden is an impressive tsukiyama style garden featuring a pond, decorative rocks and beautiful pine and maple trees, the latter of which turn brilliant shades of red and orange during the autumn color season.
Going up on the hillside behind the temple, you can admire a mausoleum for Hideyoshi and Nene. The interior is richly decorated with special lacquer work, known as Kodaiji Makie that features designs of powdered gold and silver set in lacquer, a technique that Kodaiji is famous for. Further up the hill, there are two tea houses, one of which was designed by the tea master Sen no Rikyu, as Hideyoshi was a fervent tea ceremony practitioner. The return path to the temple buildings passes through a bamboo grove.
Going down, you can see a series of steps, named Nene's Path, which lead back down to the streets of the Higashiyama District. Across the street from Nene's Path is a recently redeveloped area with some shops and cafes. This area is also home to the small Kodaiji Sho Museum, which exhibits treasures of Kodaiji, Nene and several pieces of lacquer artwork. The complex is surrounded by the buildings of Entokuin Temple, a small subtemple of Kodaiji that features two more Zen gardens.
How to get to Kodai-ji Temple?
From Hankyu Kawaramachi Station or Keihan Shijo Station,city bus 207. Get off at Higashiyama Yasui and walk east 5 min.
From JR Kyoto Station or Kintetsu Kyoto Station,city bus 206(Higashiyama direction). Get off at Higashiyama Yasui and walk east 5 min.
From JR Kyoto Station or Kintetsu Kyoto Station, it takes 15 min by taxi.
- Beautiful night lights
- An outstanding “Zen” experience
- One of the Best Temples in Kyoto
- Beautiful Temple and Gardens to visit when illuminated
- Nice Park, quiet place
Kōdai-ji, Japan, 〒605-0825 京都府京都市 東山区下河原町八坂鳥居前下る下河原町526
Tips for you
This temple is known as the 'Zen' temple, and it lives up to its name. I wandered this temple solo [my friend was exploring elsewhere]. It was perfect that way. I went through at 4:30pm [last entry at 5pm] so it was quiet and calm. No crowds. Just the way I like it. And the sunset was close behind me. Perfect. As well as the temple itself, there are several gardens, shrines, and a mini bamboo forest. All this is topped off with a killer view of Kyoto [Gion Shijo to be specific]. Right at the top. And from the carpark too [which is at the base of the temple]. You can also enter the temple itself [not all allow this]. But of course - post removing shoes. The detail in the temple is exquisite and wooden handiwork is intriguing. Unfortunately you're not allowed to take photos inside. There is a lake in the centre of the grounds too which adds to the picturesque setting of this temple. The map is clear and directed so you don't miss anything. I'll definitely be coming back. Also within 5 minute walk of this temple are three other quality temples. Each offers a different setting and experience. All worth a trip if you're visiting or staying in Gion Shijo. And near this temple is a great little laneway with some of the best restaurants Gion Shijo has to offer [but you'll pay for it]. And matcha green tea ice cream! But all in all - Kyoto is a must to visit. I want to come back again soon/live here. The mountains and temples create such cool and relaxed vibes. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time to the 8th century. Enjoy!
Don't miss seasonal special light up event at night in Spring for cherry blossom and Autumn for Momiji. Interesting to explore the street on the way around the temple to feel Kyoto's old scenery.
Don't miss seasonal special light up event at night in Spring fKodaiji is one of my favorite temples for 3 reasons. 1. Nice view In Kodaiji there is a hill that has a Shiguretei. This building was established in order to see Osaka for Nene, the wife of Toyotomi-Hideyoshi. Toyotomi-Hideyoshi was the warrior during the 15th century who made the foundation for unifying Japan. Therefore you will have a good view from this Shiguretei. 2. Uniqueness For example, Kodaiji has a dragon head made by Kawara (tile of roofs for traditional house in Japan). I never seen such thing except for Kodaiji. Also, in some season you could enjoy both day and night. The light up of Kodaiji is breath taking during the begining of summer. 3. Sign of love As I mentioned before, Kodaiji was built by Nene, she dedicated this temple for her sadness of losing her fall in love husband and the great warrior. You will able to see some elements of how much she loved her husband and was trying her best to see him. The Shiguretei is one of it, as she built it in order to make sure that she will be able to see the castle he built (osaka castle).or cherry blossom and Autumn for Momiji. Interesting to explore the street on the way around the temple to feel Kyoto's old scenery.