Today, we’re heading for Tofukuji Temple!
We will also visit Kiyomizu Temple briefly, and also Jishu Shrine.
For more on information on Kyoto, check out my previous posts!!
Click the links below to view.
Tofukuji Temple is a large Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto that is particularly famous for its spectacular autumn colors. The temple was founded in 1236 at the behest of the powerful Fujiwara clan.
Its name is a combination of the names of two great temples in Nara that were also associated with the Gangoji, Fujiwara, Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple.
Tofukuji has historically been one of the principal Zen temples in Kyoto, and is a head temple of one of the schools of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.
In autumn, people come from all over Japan to see Tofukuji’s autumn colors. The most popular view is of the Tsutenkyo Bridge, which spans a valley of lush maple trees. The view from the bridge is equally spectacular, and the 100 meter long, covered walkway becomes extremely crowded when the colors reach their peak, usually around mid to late November.
Several parts of Tofukuji’s temple grounds are free to enter, including the area around some of its largest and most impressive buildings. The 22 meter tall Sanmon Gate is the oldest Zen gate of its kind, dating back to 1425. Behind the gate is the Hondo (main hall), which is even larger but is a recent reconstruction completed in 1934.
Surrounding those two massive structures are a number of temple buildings that date back to the early Muromachi Period (1333-1573) and are rare examples of surviving Zen architecture from that era, including the meditation hall (zendo), belfry (shoro), bath (yokushitsu) and lavatory (tosu).
The Hojo, the head priest’s former living quarters, is one of Tofukuji’s two paid areas. Rock gardens were often built alongside hojo buildings, but the gardens at Tofukuji’s Hojo are unique for surrounding the building on all sides. Each garden has a different character, employing pebbles, large rocks, moss, trees and checkered patters.
The Hojo was most recently reconstructed in 1890 while the gardens are relatively modern creations dating from the late 1930s. The other paid area consists of the above mentioned Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall, which serves as the mausoleum of the temple’s first head priest.
The stone path in front of the Kaisando is flanked by contrasting gardens on both sides, a dry rock garden on the left and a lush pond garden on the right. The Kaisando and its gardens were last reconstructed during the Edo Period (1603-1867).
Located halfway up Otowa Mountain in the eastern part of Kyoto City, Kiyomizu Temple is a historic temple that was established in 778, even before Kyoto became the capital of Japan. Since its foundation, the temple has burned down many times. Most of the current buildings were rebuilt by the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in the early Edo period (1631 to 1633).
The Main Hall (Hondo) of the temple is designated as a national treasure. The temple has many other important cultural properties including the Deva gate, west gate, three-storied pagoda and bell tower. In 1994, it was registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
The two most famous places of the temple are the Main Hall, where the Eleven Headed and Thousand Armed Kannon Bodhisattva – which is famous for the power of answering prayers – is enshrined and Kiyomizu Stage, which is the veranda of the Main Hall extended over a precipice.
Kiyomizu Stage was built using a special method; huge 12-meter high Keyaki pillars were assembled without using a single nail and the floor was installed using more than 410 cypress boards. The view of the city center of Kyoto from the Stage is magnificent.
Kiyomizu Temple was named after Otowa Waterfall. It’s name means; The Temple of Clear Water.
Water from a spring in the mountain has been falling there since its foundation. Fifteen colorfully-painted halls and pagodas stand in its verdant precincts.
The beauty of Kiyomizu Temple is enhanced by the cherry blossoms and fresh verdure in spring and colored leaves in autumn. It is well known as a landscape that represents Kyoto.
Take the time to visit and deepen your understanding of the Japanese culture and spirit!
Behind Kiyomizudera’s main hall stands Jishu Shrine.
Jishu Shrine is dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, who is the god of love and “good matches”.
In front of the shrine are two stones, placed 18 meters apart. Successfully finding your way from one to the other with your eyes closed is said to bring luck in finding love. You can also have someone guide you from one stone to the other, but that is interpreted to mean that an intermediary will be needed in your love life as well.
Stay tuned for more posts that will uncover more of Kyoto!!