Exploring the World Heritage Site “Toji”: A Complete Guide! Discover the Many Attractions Including the National Treasure Five-Story Pagoda and Miedo Hall

Toji, a Buddhist temple of the Shingon sect located in Kujochomachi, Minami Ward, Kyoto City.

Founded in the year 1200, this temple stands as the sole remaining structure from the Heian period to the present day. Established by the great monk Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi, Toji thrived as a fundamental training ground for Esoteric Buddhism. Within the temple grounds, you can find various attractions, including the nationally designated treasure, the five-story pagoda.

Toji, formally known as Kyo-O-Gokoku-Ji, translates to “The Temple for the Defense of the Nation by the King of Doctrines.” This temple, dedicated to the state’s protection, has been a place of worship for followers of esoteric Buddhism, retaining its significance even in modern times. In December 1994, Toji was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

From the perspective of an avid Kyoto enthusiast, this article will introduce you to the highlights and travel information about Toji Temple.

What’s Toji Temple All About?

What's Toji Temple All About?

Toji Temple, situated in Kujochomachi, Minami Ward, Kyoto City, is a Shingon Buddhist temple. This temple, formally known as Kyo-O-Gokoku-Ji, enshrines the Buddha Yakushi Nyorai as its main deity.

Established as an official temple for the protection of Heian Kyoto, Toji was commissioned to Kobo Daishi, also known as Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect, by Emperor Saga.

Under the stewardship of Kukai, Toji became a fundamental training ground for Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. On the 21st of each month, the “Kobo-Ichi” market is held in honor of Kobo Daishi, preserving the temple’s connection to this influential figure. The echoes of its origins as a temple linked to Kukai can still be felt today.

Exploring the History of Toji Temple

In the late 8th century, a plan was devised to construct two temples, Toji and Saiki (later known as Sai-ji), on the east and west sides of Rajo-mon, the main gate of Heian-kyo (modern-day Kyoto). Toji, established in 796, was designated as a national guardian temple to protect the eastern and western regions of Kyoto.

Twenty years after its founding, Emperor Saga entrusted Toji to Kobo Daishi, also known as Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect.

Toji became a fundamental training ground for Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, featuring Kukai’s three-dimensional mandala known as “Sesshu Mandala.” Despite a temporary decline after Kukai’s passing, Toji continued to be revered as the temple of Kobo Daishi even in 2021.

One unique tradition at Toji is the “Sho-shin-kai” ceremony, where offerings of tea and rice are made as if Kukai were still alive.

Throughout the medieval period, Toji flourished with support from influential figures like Emperor Go-Daigo and Ashikaga Takauji. Despite a devastating fire in 1486 that destroyed most major buildings, reconstruction with assistance from the Toyotomi and Tokugawa families preserved the distinctive layout and led to Toji’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Key structures, such as the reconstructed Kondo (Main Hall) in 1603 and the iconic five-story pagoda rebuilt in 1644, hold significant historical value within the temple grounds. Experience the blend of nature and historical architecture at Toji, where you can immerse yourself in both natural beauty and rich history.

Tourist Information

Toji Temple is open year-round, welcoming visitors as early as 5 AM. The morning hours offer a quieter experience, making it an ideal time for those who wish to leisurely explore the temple grounds.

In August 2021, the renovated Miedo Hall, a designated national treasure, completed its restoration and now showcases the Fudo Myoo statue, a revered figure associated with Kobo Daishi Kukai.

The spacious temple grounds feature flat stone-paved paths, ensuring accessibility for individuals with wheelchairs or mobility challenges. While most areas within the temple are freely accessible, there is an admission fee for the Kondo Hall, Lecture Hall, and the Five-story Pagoda. During special openings or designated periods, visitors can explore the interior of the Five-story Pagoda and the Treasure Hall, offering a unique view of these normally restricted areas.

Admission fees for the Kondo Hall, Lecture Hall, and Five-story Pagoda are 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for junior high school students and below. For special openings, events, or seasonal illuminations, it’s recommended to check the official website for updated admission details.

Toji Temple

  • Address: 1 Kujocho, Minami Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 10 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Toji Station
  • Phone Number: 075-691-3325
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Visiting Hours:
    • 【Opening Hours】5:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    • 【Kondo Hall and Lecture Hall】8:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last entry at 4:30 PM)
    • 【Treasure Hall and Kanchiin】9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last entry at 4:30 PM) ※Special Evening Admission: 6:00 PM – 9:30 PM (Last entry at 9:00 PM)
  • Admission Fees:
    • 【Miedo Hall and Dining Hall】Free
    • 【Kondo Hall, Lecture Hall, Five-story Pagoda】Adults: 800 yen, High School Students: 700 yen, Junior High School Students and below: 500 yen
    • 【Special Evening Admission】Adults: 1,000 yen, Junior High School Students and below: 500 yen
  • Note: Photography is not allowed inside the Kondo Hall and Lecture Hall.
  • Official Website: Toji Temple

Getting to Toji Temple: Access Information

Toji Temple is a conveniently located attraction within walking distance from the central hub of tourism, JR Kyoto Station. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the nearest station, and there are also bus stops in the vicinity, providing various transportation options. For those arriving by car, the temple has dedicated parking facilities for visitors, making it convenient for those who prefer to drive.

If you choose to walk from Kyoto Station, it’s about a 15-minute stroll, and even if you take a train or bus, you can reach Toji within 30 minutes. Its proximity to Kyoto Station makes it easily accessible, allowing visitors to conveniently explore nearby tourist spots and commercial facilities.

Getting to Toji Temple by Bus

  • From the Karasuma Exit of JR Kyoto Station, take city bus routes 78 or 19, get off at “Toji Minamimon-mae” for the south gate, or routes 42 or 16, get off at “Toji Nishimon-mae” for the west gate. It’s just a short walk from the bus stop.
  • If you’re at the Hachijo Exit of JR Kyoto Station, buses 78 and 19 to “Toji Minamimon-mae” or bus 71 to “Toji Higashimon-mae” are also convenient options. You can easily reach Toji Temple on foot from the bus stop.
  • Coming from Gion Shijo Station on the Keihan Line, take bus 207 to “Toji Higashimon-mae” for a quick and straightforward walk to Toji Temple.
  • If you’re at Hankyu’s Shijo Kawaramachi Station, take bus 207 to “Toji Higashimon-mae” for a short stroll to Toji Temple after getting off the bus.

Getting to Toji Temple by Train

  • A 15-minute walk from the Hachijo Exit of JR Kyoto Station.
  • Just a 10-minute walk from Tofukuji Station on the Kintetsu Railway.

Access to Kyoto Station from Various Locations

  • Approximately 120 minutes by Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station.
  • About 29 minutes by JR Rapid Service from JR Osaka Station.
  • Around 47 minutes by JR Miyakojiru Rapid Service from JR Nara Station.
  • Approximately 51 minutes by Limited Express from JR Sannomiya Station (Kobe).
  • About 50 minutes by Osaka Airport Limousine Bus from Itami Airport.
  • Approximately 75 minutes by JR Airport Express “Haruka” from Kansai International Airport.

Highlights of Toji Temple

Toji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to national treasures, is a cultural gem nestled in Kyoto’s historic charm. Renowned as a fundamental dojo of Esoteric Buddhism, Toji has thrived as a significant landmark for Kyoto tourism.

Marvel at the meticulously arranged structures in a straight line, featuring highlights like the national treasure five-story pagoda and the golden hall. Toji Temple is a treasure trove of cultural wonders waiting to be explored.

Kyoto’s Landmark! Explore Gardens and the Iconic Five-story Pagoda Nearby

The five-story pagoda stands as a symbol of Toji Temple and is a prominent landmark visible even from the Shinkansen windows in Kyoto.

Originally initiated by Kobo Daishi in 826 AD, the pagoda has endured four instances of destruction but proudly stands in its present form. As of 2019, the current pagoda within the temple grounds was reconstructed in 1644, thanks to a donation from Tokugawa Iemitsu.

Soaring at a height of 55 meters, this pagoda boasts the title of the tallest wooden ancient tower in Japan. Within its interior, inspired by the stupa that holds Buddha’s relics, Kukai brought back Buddha’s ashes from Tang Dynasty China.

Preserving the pure Japanese architectural style down to the finest details, this five-story pagoda, recognized as a national treasure, is considered a masterpiece from the early Edo period.

The interior of the five-story pagoda is generally off-limits, and photography is not allowed. Inside the restricted first floor, there is said to be an elaborately decorated esoteric space adorned with vibrant colors.

The central pillar running through each floor of the pagoda represents Dainichi Nyorai, surrounded by various Buddhas and bodhisattvas.

While the interior of the first floor is only open to the public during a few occasions throughout the year, those interested in exploring it should plan their visit during these specific periods. Even from a distance, the imposing presence of the pagoda can be admired from various points within the temple grounds.

At the base of the five-story pagoda, you’ll find a spacious garden known as “Hyotan Ike,” featuring a central pond. This garden is within the paid area of the pagoda, providing visitors with a serene and uncrowded natural environment for leisurely strolls. During spring, you can enjoy cherry blossoms, while in summer, lotus flowers and lush greenery take center stage. Autumn brings vibrant foliage, offering a different picturesque view with each season.

Inside the garden, there are walking paths that allow you to stroll around the pond. The reflection of surrounding trees on the surface of Hyotan Ike creates a captivating and beautiful scene.

In spring and autumn, there are special limited-time illuminations, providing a unique and enchanting atmosphere distinct from the usual setting.

Unique Layout in a Straight Line! National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties – Kon-do (Main Hall), Lecture Hall, and Dining Hall

Kon-do (Main Hall)

The Kon-do (Main Hall), designated as a national treasure, is the earliest constructed building among various temple structures. Established alongside the transfer of the capital to Heian, this grand hall serves as the main hall of To-ji Temple.

The principal deity enshrined here includes Yakushi Nyorai (Bhaisajyaguru), Nikko Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva of the Sun), and Gakko Bodhisattva (Bodhisattva of the Moon), believed to protect people from various illnesses. As a national building constructed by the imperial court, the Kon-do was expected to exude a solemn presence, and it has maintained that dignity for over 600 years since its construction.

The current structure, reconstructed in 1603 by the donation of Toyotomi Hideyori, replaces the one destroyed in the 1486 Tsuchi Ikki (earthquake rebellion). Combining Indian and Japanese architectural styles, the Kon-do represents the Momoyama period. Its high ceiling and raised central part of the roof are also found in other significant structures like the Todai-ji Daibutsuden and Byodoin Phoenix Hall.

Encircled by the Twelve Heavenly Generals, with Nikko and Gakko Bodhisattvas on either side, the principal deity exudes a divine aura.

Kodo (Lecture Hall)

Within the precincts of To-ji Temple, there is a large complex featuring the Kon-do (Main Hall) and Kodo (Lecture Hall), forming an approximately square layout with sides measuring 255 meters in all directions.

At the heart of this complex is the Kodo, a building designated as an important cultural property. Positioned as a central hall, the Kodo was established by Kukai (Kobo Daishi) to propagate the teachings of Esoteric Buddhism. Originally completed in 839, the Kodo and Kon-do were once surrounded by corridors connecting the two structures. While other buildings underwent reconstruction in the 1600s, the Kodo was rebuilt just five years after its destruction, in 1491.

With a history spanning over 500 years, the interior of the Kodo houses the enshrined Esoteric Buddhist deities centered around Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana Buddha). Noteworthy is the three-dimensional representation of mandalas, typically depicted in two dimensions, crafted by Kukai himself.

Witness the powerful three-dimensional mandala featuring Dainichi Nyorai at its core, flanked by the Five Wisdom Buddhas, Five Great Bodhisattvas on one side, and the Five Great Wrathful Kings on the other, showcasing Kukai’s intricate spiritual artistry.

dining hall

Located on the northern side of the temple grounds, the dining hall was originally used as a place for monks’ ascetic training. Nowadays, it serves as a place for stamping pilgrimage books and engaging in sutra copying, attracting many visitors.

Initially known as the Kannon Hall due to housing the Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara, it was later rebuilt after a fire in 1930. The reconstructed dining hall now houses an Eleven-faced Kannon statue created by Meichin Tsuneo. The original Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshvara, once the main deity of To-ji, is preserved in the temple’s treasure house after undergoing restoration.

Since November 2011, a space for sutra copying has been designated within the dining hall, allowing tourists to experience this traditional practice. If you wish to try sutra copying during your visit to To-ji, you can directly inquire and sign up at the dining hall.

Discover Hidden Gems in the Temple Grounds – Chinshu Hachiman Shrine and Secret Power Spots

Chinshu Hachiman Shrine

Within the precincts of Tō-ji, you’ll find not only national treasures and important cultural properties but also various points of interest. Right after entering the South Main Gate, to the south of the temple grounds, you’ll discover Chinshu Hachiman Shrine, a Shinto shrine built to pray for the protection of the royal castle.

The Shinto deity at Chinshu Hachiman Shrine, depicted in the form of a monk, along with two goddesses, is said to be the oldest Japanese sculpture, carved by the monk Kūkai himself.

Chinshu Hachiman Shrine is renowned for suppressing the epidemics during the Heian period and is considered a power spot for prayers of victory in battles. Right next to the shrine, you’ll also find a statue of Kōbō-Daishi (Kūkai), the founder of Tō-ji and a symbol of the temple.

Sonsyōdarani Monument

In the northeast corner of the temple grounds, you’ll find the “Bishamon Hall,” home to a somewhat lesser-known power spot.

A stone statue resembling a large turtle carrying a massive rock on its back is the “Sonsyōdarani Monument.” The creature resembling a turtle is called “Hikki,” a dragon’s offspring, and it enjoys carrying heavy objects.

Traditionally, the Hikki, serving as the base for stone pillars and monuments, is believed to bring blessings for various ailments. Inside the national treasure Miedo Hall, there’s a cloth called “Bampei Nugu,” and wiping the Hikki with it, then using it to wipe areas of your body believed to be ailing, is said to have the power to dispel illnesses.


Near the Bishamon Hall, there is another temple where Daikokuten and Benzaiten, also counted among the Seven Lucky Gods, are enshrined. Behind the Benzaiten Hall, you can spot a shrine dedicated to the rain deity and benefactor of Kukai, the dragon king called Zennyo Ryuo.

Just steps away, inside the national treasure Miedo Hall, you can appreciate the seated statue of Kukai, the founder, in a special exhibition room.

Hachijima Shrine

Near the South Gate of Toji, there is the Hachijima Shrine, said to have existed even before Toji was established in this area. Kukai, revered as Kobo Daishi, prayed at this shrine when founding the temple.

Upon entering the precinct, it’s easy to be drawn to the main hall (Kondo) straight ahead. However, don’t miss the Hachijima Shrine, a somewhat overlooked spot that’s worth a visit during your pilgrimage.

Limited-Time Illumination at Night!

At night, To-ji Temple is illuminated twice a year during spring and autumn. I visited during the spring illumination held in early April. It was the perfect time when cherry blossoms were in full bloom, offering a different charm compared to the daytime.

As soon as you enter the paid area, you’ll encounter the majestic “Fujizakura”. According to the description, Fujizakura is named after the teaching of Kobo Daishi, known as the “Teaching of Mount Fuji.”

You can enjoy the beautiful blooming of Fujizakura from late March to early April.

On the path leading to the Five-story Pagoda, you’ll encounter cherry blossoms in full bloom during spring and vibrant autumn foliage in fall. The surroundings are adorned with cherry blossoms, creating a perfect opportunity to pause and capture the beauty of nighttime cherry blossoms.

Continuing along the path, you’ll come across one of the highlights of Tō-ji, the “Five-story Pagoda.” The combination of nighttime cherry blossoms and the Five-story Pagoda was truly beautiful. To capture the entire structure in your photo, I recommend taking a few steps back instead of getting too close.

Additionally, a must-see near the Five-story Pagoda is the expansive garden known as the “Hyotan Pond.” This large pond, part of a stroll-style garden, offers a beautiful reflection of cherry blossoms illuminated at night. If you have extra time, consider revisiting the garden not only during daylight but also in the evening when the illuminated cherry blossoms cast a captivating glow on the water.

Tō-ji hosts illumination events twice a year, during spring and autumn. The autumn illumination coincides with the vibrant colors of fall foliage, making it a great choice for those interested. For specific dates, please check the official website of Tō-ji.

The entrance fee for the nighttime illumination period is 1,000 yen for adults, but it’s definitely worth it.

Within the paid area surrounding the Five-story Pagoda, you can enjoy the illuminated cherry blossoms in the garden. If you want to witness the cherry blossoms in full bloom, it’s recommended to check the peak bloom information online before your visit.

Recommended Sightseeing Spots around To-ji Temple

Around To-ji Temple, which is conveniently close to JR Kyoto Station, you’ll find a variety of attractions including temples, shrines, and commercial facilities. Landmarks like Kyoto Tower near Kyoto Station and the popular Fushimi Inari Taisha are prominent in the area, attracting visitors from around the world. Let me introduce you to some carefully selected spots reachable within about 30 minutes from Nishi-Hongan-ji Temple.

From scenic viewpoints to gourmet delights! Explore Kyoto’s iconic “Kyoto Tower.”

Just a 3-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station, Kyoto Tower stands as a landmark of Kyoto, offering everything from observation decks to gourmet delights.

As a “steel-free construction” building, it boasts the world’s tallest height among such structures. Its exterior design resembles the undulating roofs of traditional Kyoto townhouses, with the image of a lighthouse illuminating them.

After undergoing a major renovation for the first time in 50 years since its opening, Kyoto Tower has become an even more charming tourist spot. The Kyoto Tower Sand, opened in April 2017, is a commercial facility featuring gourmet dining, souvenir shops, and experiential activities.

At the top of the tower, an observation deck offers panoramic views of Kyoto from a height of 100 meters above ground level.

Opened since 2017, Kyoto Tower Sand embodies the concept of “A third option following the city and the station. A Kyoto of the past and future.” The name is inspired by the “approach” that connects Kyoto Station, the city, locals, and tourists.

On the basement floor, you’ll find a food hall where you can savor Kyoto’s gourmet delights. The first floor is filled with unique items typical of Kyoto, while the second floor offers workshops designed to create memorable experiences.

One of the standout eateries, “Kyoto Senmaru Shakariki Murasaki,” is an affiliate of the popular “Kyoto Senmaru Shakariki,” known for its dipping soba. Their signature ramen dish, “Za” priced at 780 yen, features a light yet flavorful seafood and chicken broth. It comes with juicy and tender chashu pork and fragrant Mitsuba (Japanese parsley). You might want to add toppings like seasoned eggs for an extra treat.

Kyoto Tower

  • Address: 721-1 Higashishiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: 2-minute walk from JR Kyoto Station
  • Phone Number: 075-361-3215
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Hours: 10:30 AM – 9:00 PM (Last admission at 8:30 PM)
  • Admission Fee: Adults 800 yen, High School Students 650 yen, Children (Elementary and Junior High School Students) 550 yen, Infants (3 years old and above) 150 yen
  • Official Website: Kyoto Tower

The Enchanting Fushimi Inari Taisha with Rows of Thousands of Torii Gates

Fushimi Inari Taisha, located just a short walk from JR Nara Line’s Inari Station, is the head shrine of the approximately 30,000 Inari shrines across Japan.

At the New Year’s visit, Fushimi Inari Taisha attracts the largest number of worshippers in the Kinki region and remains a popular tourist spot throughout the year, drawing visitors from both within Japan and abroad. Let’s explore this venerable shrine with a history of over 1,300 years, where the deity Inari Okami has been enshrined on Mount Inari.

Fushimi Inari Taisha is believed to bring blessings of prosperity in business and abundant harvests of the five grains. Visitors can purchase a variety of amulets, each believed to grant different blessings, including those for business success and fulfillment of various wishes.

The main attraction within the precinct of Fushimi Inari Taisha is the Senbon Torii, a series of thousands of vermilion torii gates that create a mystical and majestic scenery. As it takes over an hour to climb Mount Inari, it’s a good idea to plan which areas to visit during your sightseeing.

Keep in mind that Fushimi Inari Taisha is a popular tourist destination throughout the year, so crowds are expected. To avoid the crowds, it’s recommended to visit during the early hours of the morning, such as in the morning.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

  • Address: 68 Fukakusa Yabunouchicho, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access:
    • JR Nara Line: Inari Station (Right outside)
    • Keihan Main Line: Fushimi Inari Station (5-minute walk)
  • Phone number: 075-641-7331
  • Visiting hours:
    • Shrine visit: 24 hours open
    • Prayer service: 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM (Reception until around 4:00 PM)
    • Omamori (charms) and ofuda (amulets) distribution: 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official website: Fushimi Inari Taisha

Headquarters of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha: “Nishi Honganji Temple

From Kyoto Station, a 10-minute walk leads to the headquarters of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, commonly known as “Nishi Honganji Temple” or “The Western Temple.”

Founded by Saint Shinran, the temple’s grounds boast historic treasures, with the main hall, known as the Goeido Hall, being a designated national treasure. The Goeido Hall, particularly striking for its size, enshrines the image of Saint Shinran. Spanning 62 meters north to south and 48 meters east to west, visitors can explore its interior free of charge, offering a glimpse into its grandeur.

The corridor connecting the Goeido Hall and the Amida Hall exudes a majestic atmosphere that is unexpected for a temple nestled within a city. The large ginkgo tree planted in front of the Goeido Hall is designated as a natural monument by the government.

Known as the “upside-down ginkgo” due to its branches spreading as if reaching for the sky, this ginkgo tree displays a brilliant yellow hue in autumn.

As of 2021, renovation work has been underway for structures like the inner sanctuary of the Amida Hall and the Karmon Gate. Additionally, the renovation of the Higashiyama Wing, counted among Kyoto’s three towers, was completed in 2020.

Nishihonganji Temple

  • Address: 60 Monzen-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 600-8501, Japan
  • Map: [Google Maps]
  • Access: 10 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station, 11 minutes on foot from Nishihonganji-mae bus stop
  • Phone: 075-371-5181
  • Closed: Open every day
  • Visiting Hours: 5:30 AM to 5:00 PM
  • Admission: Free
  • Official Website: [Nishihonganji Temple]

Enjoy the Fall Colors at the Famous Tofuku-ji Temple

The “Tofuku-ji Temple,” the head temple of the Rinzai sect’s Tofuku-ji school, was established over a period of 19 years, from 1236 to 1255, to enshrine the Buddha Shakyamuni.

At that time, inspired by the influential Todai-ji and Kofuku-ji temples in Nara, it was named “Tofuku-ji.” The temple boasts numerous national treasures and important cultural properties and is renowned as a popular spot for viewing autumn foliage.

The “Hondo” or main hall is a notable attraction, serving as a combination of lecture hall and Buddha hall. Despite facing destruction during a war in 1881, it was reconstructed in its current form in 1934.

Standing at a height of 25.5 meters, it is considered one of the largest wooden structures built during the Showa era, holding significant value in architectural history.

Visiting Tofuku-ji during the autumn foliage season is a delightful experience, as it is renowned as a picturesque spot for fall colors.

The peak of autumn foliage typically spans from November to early December, providing a relatively extended period for enjoying the vibrant hues, a notable feature among Kyoto’s attractions. With approximately 2,000 maple trees within the temple grounds, the simultaneous burst of red foliage across the temple is truly awe-inspiring.

One of the notable features at Tofuku-ji is the Tsutenkyo Bridge. Tsutenkyo, along with the Engetsukyo and Gauunkyo bridges, is part of the “Three Famous Bridges of Tofuku-ji.” This wooden bridge, approximately 27 meters long with a roof, offers a unique viewing experience of the surrounding autumn foliage.

To cross the Tsutenkyo Bridge during the fall foliage season, there is an entrance fee of 1,000 yen, but it’s definitely worth the experience. Take a leisurely stroll across this charming wooden bridge while enjoying the vibrant colors of autumn.

Not only in autumn but also during early summer when the fresh green leaves adorn the scenery, you can appreciate the beauty of lush green maple trees. This attraction provides a delightful experience regardless of the season.

Until 2019, the autumn foliage illumination at Tofuku-ji was exclusively available to tour participants. However, starting from 2020, it became open to the general public, allowing anyone to enjoy the enchanting sight of illuminated autumn leaves.

Furthermore, Tofuku-ji hosts nighttime illuminations during spring, summer, and autumn, providing a unique experience during these three seasons. If you’re interested, visiting during the evening is also recommended.

For detailed schedules, please check the official website of Tofuku-ji.


  • Address: 15-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
  • Map: Google Maps
  • Access: About 10 minutes on foot from JR Nara Line “Tofuku-ji Station”
  • Phone Number: 075-561-0087
  • Closed: None
    • Hours:9:00 AM to 4:30 PM (Last entry at 4:00 PM)
    • ※ From November to early December: 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM (Last entry at 3:30 PM)
    • ※ From early December to March: Until 4:00 PM (Last entry at 3:30 PM)
  • Fees:
    • Tsutenkyo Bridge: 600 yen (from November 10 to 30, 1,000 yen)
    • Hojo (Abbot’s Quarters): 500 yen
    • Combined ticket for Tsutenkyo Bridge and Hojo: 1,000 yen (excluding November 10 to 30)
  • Official Website: Tofuku-ji

We’ve introduced the highlights of Tofuku-ji, which houses numerous cultural treasures, including the national treasure Goju-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) visible even from the Shinkansen. From the national treasure Five-story Pagoda to the Golden Hall and the scenic stroll garden offering views of the changing seasons, there’s plenty to see and explore. Combine a visit to the popular Fushimi Inari Taisha, beloved by visitors from all over the world, with other nearby attractions for a full day of sightseeing enjoyment.


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