- ★★ ミシュラングリーンガイド 二ツ星
Two national temples named “To-ji”and “Sai-ji” were founded in the East and in the West near Rashomon, which was located on the front gate in Heian-kyo.
The two temples had missions that guarded Sakyo, which was left side of Heian-kyo, and Ukyo that was right side of it,and addition to it Sakyo was guarded West side of country and Ukyo was guarded east side of country. After that, Sai-ji was declining soon, but To-ji was given by Kukai ,Kobo-Daishi,who was a founder of Shingon-Buhhism, by the Emperor Saga, on 823 (the 14 year of Konin). After that its mission was not only guarded the country but also Dojo for Shingon esoteric Buddhism.
The last part of Heian period, the temple was temporary declining. But in Kamakura period, the more belief in Kobo-Daishi, the more people from nobles to ordinary people widely believed. Above all, Senyou Empress dwager(1181-1252), who was the Emperor Goshirakawa’s daughter,started ceremonies. She respects for Kukai strongly, and he gave her wide land as chantry and “Namamibutsu (the Enlightenment of a living Buddha)”,which is ceremony that in every morning breakfast is given to Kukai as if he were still alive now or “Mikagekyo”, on 21th of every month, the deathday of Kukai, memorial service is given.
After the medieval age, the temple was supported by the Emperor Uta, the Emperor Godaigo, Takauji Ashikaga, many nobles and rulers and flourished. In 1486 (the 18th year of Bunmei) the fire broke most of temple buildings enshrining a Buddhist statue and pagodas. The Tokugawas and the Toyotomis etc.supported the temple,Kindo Hall and Five storied Pagoda were rebuilt.After a several fires were experienced, To-ji did not have building that built at the beginning. Nandaimon Gate, Kindo Hall, kodo Hall and Jikido Hall were allocated on a line from south to North. And scales of buildings were not changed from Heian period.
【Kondo Hall(a national Treasure)】
Chushindo (Main building in To-ji).this temple was started to build earliest in To-ji. The construction of this building was finished in 823 (14th year of the Koujin),which Kukai gave the temples), less than presumed. The building was burned in 1486 (18th year of Bunmei)and since then it was not rebuilt until 1 century later.
The existing temple was contributed Hideyori Toyotomi to rebuild it in 1603(8th year of Keicho). And in 1606 (11th year of Keicho),the cerebration that rebuilding of the temple(“Rakkeihoyo”, the completion ceremony) was completed. It features a single pent hip-and-gable roof.It seems to be double pent, but it is a single pent.Inside of it is a big space and the idol is the seated figure of Bhaisajyaguru (by Kousei Busshi)that is an important cultural property, “Suryaprabha”and “Candraprabha”are enshured. The principal image is 2.88m height.total height includes pedestal and hallo is total more than 10m height and heighest Bhaisajyaguru in Japan.
【Kodo Hall(an important cultural property)】
Kodo Hall is located on the back of Kondo Hall and priests learned 3D Mandala(the Pure Land of esoteric Buddhism).While the idol of Kondo Hall is Bhaisajyaguru from Kenkyo , the idol of Kodo Hall is Vairocana and 21 Mikkyoson. 3D Mandala consists of these statues.
These statues are the oldest and authentic Mikkyo statues in Japan.B ut a ceremony to consecrate a newly made Buddhist statue or image by inserting the eyes was held in 839 (6th year of Jowa) after Kukai was died. Kukai made the idea about 3D Mandala.But all 5 statues(an important cultural property) and the statue of the central Buddhist image in five Bodhisattvas was made in Muromachi period and Edo period, but the rest of them were made at the foundation of Kodo Hall and the representative of Esoteric Buddhism statues in the early part of Heian period and assigned as a national treasure.
【A Five storied pagoda (a national treasure)】
The pagoda is not only a symbol of To-ji but also Kyoto.
54.8m height is the highest wooden pagoda in Japan. In 826 (3rd year of the Tencho) Kukai began foundation of it, but it was completed at the end of 9 century. It taken for about 50 years to construct until completion.
Only 4 years after completion,it was burnt by thunder. And after the fire of it, it was fired 4 times by thunder and suspicious fire. In 1644 (21st year of the Kanei), the pagoda was 5th version contributed Iemitsu Tokugawa for.
Shingonhasso is described at inside wall of the first-story. Vajradhatsu Mandalais is described in four pillars. Hachidairyuou (Eight Dragon King) is described at goor jamb. Vairocana, who is a center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism is not here, but central pillar of a pagoda goes from the ground to top. So it regards as Vairocana. In dais for a Buddhist image, 4 statues of Tathagata and Bodhisattva were installed around the center pillar.Four devils at the four corners under the first-story support the pagoda.(“Enno Shitano Chikaramochi”. To labor in the background.)
【Mieido Hall(a national treasure)】
Mieido Hall is located on “Saiin”,which is northwest from the precincts and surrounded by the reclamed land. It consists of Zendo, Kodo Hall and Chumon Gate.At one time, Kobo-Daishi Kukai lived in it. In 1958 (33rd year of the Showa), this temple was called Taishido Hall when it was decided as a national treasure, but Mieido-Hall is often use by the people of temple.First Mieido Hall was burned in 1379(1st year of the Kouryaku). In the part of Kodo Hall was rebuilt the next year.
10 years from the year in 1390 (1st year of the Meitoku),in the north of Mieido Hall, Zendo was built for installing Kobo-Daishi statue.In the west,Chumon Gate was enlarged. In Kodo Hall, Acala, which was statue Kukai had was installed. It is not opened to public but one of the oldest Japanese Acala.
In order to install“Kobo-Daishi Zazo”(a national treasure) in Zendo, this statue was made by Yasukatsu, who was 4th child of Unkei in 1233 (1st year of the Tenpuku).And it was similar to a portrait of Kukai painted by Shinnyo,every morning 6 o’clock “Shojinku” is taken place and offered breakfast to “Otaishisama”. A lot of people come and see the ceremony.
Subtemple in To-ji
21st of every month is the day of Kukai’death and antique market is opened, its name is familiar,“Kobo-ichi”or “Kobo-san”. A lot of tourists and neighbors visit.
Michelin Green Guide
Two stars : To-ji, Five storied pagoda,Bhaisajyaguru,Mandala
One star : Kondo Hall, Kodo Hall, Acala in Mandala
- Other Names
- 1 Kujocho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi, 601-8473
- Formal Name
- Sangou (Mountain Name)
- To-ji Shingon
- Date Founded
- 796 (15th years of the Enryaku)
- Founding Patron
- the Emperor Kanmu
- Cultural Properties
Kondo Hall, Five storied Pagoda, Renkamon Gate, 7 Shingon Patriarchs, color on silk (paintings), Acala (a national treasure),Keigamon Gate, Five storied small Pagoda,Kodo Hall, Toudaimon Gate, Nandaimon Gate, Gold-plated Copper Reliquary(an national important cultural property),The precincts of a temple Omuro Zakura (an national historical site)
Adult 500yen-800yen vary according to the season (In case of entering Shodo 100yen up)
Spring 8:30-17:30(from March 20)
Autumn 8;30-16:30(from Sepienber20)
50 cars available, 2 hours 600yen
- Access Guide
Kintetsu To-ji station about 10 minutes walk,
City Bus To-ji Higashimonmae in front of Higashimon Gate
JR Kyoto station about 15 minutes walk
- Official Website