October 26 , 2015
Toji was founded in 796 along with Saiji to guard the main entrance of the Imperial city, Heiankyo (Kyoto). While Saiji burned down and was never rebuilt, Toji was rebuilt and still stands to this day. The temple became an important center for Shingon Buddhism when the Emperor Saga gave it to the monk Kukai (Kobo Daishi) in 823.
Today it houses 21 of the oldest statues of Shingon Buddhism which are arranged in a three-dimensional mandala in the Kodo (Lecture Hall). Toji’s pagoda is the highest pagoda in Japan with 55m and can be seen from far away. It burned down multiple times but was rebuilt in 1644 by the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu. On special occasions, the inside of the pagoda, where you can find Buddha statues and Buddhist pictures and paintings on the walls, is opened to the public.
Opening times: Mar. 20-Sep. 19: 8.30 am – 5 pm; Sep. 20-Mar. 19: 8:30 am – 4 pm
Access: Kintetsu Toji Station; JR Kyoto Station (Hachijo exit), Bus (Toji Minamimon-mae; Toji Higashimon-mae; Toji Nishimon-mae; Kujo Omiya stops)