Kodai-ji Temple, Kyoto

Kodai-ji Temple, Kyoto (must see)

The Kodai-ji Temple was built in 1606 in memory of the spirit of the Samurai warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi by his grieving widow Nene. It is famous for the Maki-e paintings that cover the walls of the Spirit Hall.

The Kodai-ji temple was built using funds donated by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Tokugawa Shogun who was a vassal of the Samurai warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Nene the wife of Hideyoshi became a Buddhist nun after the death of her husband. The temple complex suffered damage by fire in 1798 and only two of the original structures remain. It is managed by monks from the Rinzai School of Zen Buddhism.

Many of the structures and objects in the Kodai-ji temple have been declared as Important Cultural Assets. These include the main gate that dates back to 1606 and the Spirit Hall. The Maki-e paintings in the Spirit Hall are worked with gold and lacquer. A notable painting is a well-preserved portrait of Hideyoshi Toyotomi. Another notable feature is a bronze bell that dates back to 1606. The temple is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens with gravel paths and a bamboo grove. The garden has tea houses designed by contemporary Japanese artists. The gardens are illuminated every autumn between late October and early December and visitors flock to enjoy the tranquil, esthetically lighted garden and the spectacular night views of Kyoto from the temple.

Why You Should Visit:
This temple is a summary of Kyoto: a Zen garden, a worship hall, a couple of tea ceremony rooms, a bamboo forest, a beautiful garden, and two memorial halls.
The garden around the temple is kept to perfection – each stone is meant to be in its location.
Every aspect of this temple is blended in so well – worth spending a whole day exploring it all!
It's also interesting to explore the street on the way around the temple to feel Kyoto's old scenery.

Tip:
Admission includes access to a small associated museum, located down the hill and across the street from the temple itself.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-5:30pm (entry until 5pm)

Illumination event hours:
Spring: mid-March to beginning of May; after sunset to 9:30pm; Summer: 1-18 August; after sunset to 9:30pm; Autumn: late October to beginning of December; after sunset to 9:30pm; Winter: last day of the year.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in Kyoto, Japan, in the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded on iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed.

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Sight Map

Sight Name: Kodai-ji Temple
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Higashiyama Area Walking Tour  

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Central Kyoto Walking Tour

Central Kyoto Walking Tour

They say visiting Japan without seeing Kyoto is worthless, because a visit to Japan will never be complete without knowing Kyoto's treasures. A city of tradition, history, and culture, Kyoto has plenty of touristic spots to offer. The next walking tour takes you to the core of Kyoto and the main attractions of the city that are located in its central area. Enjoy!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.4 km
Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku is one of the eleven wards of Kyoto and it comprises the northwestern corner of the city. This area contains a large number of important religious complexes, some of them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous attractions of Ukyo-ku in Kyoto are selected and described in the next walking tour. So check it out and enjoy your Kyoto adventure.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km
Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Even though Kyoto is famous for its wide variety of religious sites, this city is the home of several museums as well. The majority of them are dedicated to Japanese culture, ranging from history to fashion and the arts. A large number of Kyoto's museums are located in its eastern areas, where the next self-guided tour is about to take you. Check it out and prepare to get an insight into the culture of one of the most powerful and refined nations of the world.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Tetsugaku no Michi, or Philosopher's Walk, is a well-known route in Kyoto which starts at the famous Ginkaku-ji Temple and heads south to the Nanzen-ji Temple. It follows a stone path by a cherry-tree-lined canal that was once walked daily by Nishida Kitaro, a famous philosopher and professor at Kyoto University. The Philosopher's Walk passes by some major shrines and other places of interest of Kyoto making up this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 2

Souvenir Shopping Part 2

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.3 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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