Kyoto Sights

To-ji (East Temple)

  • 1 Kujo-cho Map It
  • Kyoto
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine

Published 12/10/2015

Fodor's Review

Famous for its towering pagoda, the most prominent one visible when entering the city, the temple of To-ji was established by imperial edict in 796 and called the East Temple. Farther west was Sai-ji, the West Temple, but receiving no special patronage it was long ago destroyed. To-ji, on the other hand, was assigned to the priest Kukai (774–835), also known as Kobo Daishi, a major figure in Japanese Buddhism whose accomplishments include founding the Shingon sect in the early 9th century and establishing the 88-temple pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku.

Fires and battles during the 16th century destroyed the temple buildings, but many were rebuilt, including in 1603 the Kon-do (Main Hall), which blends Chinese and Japanese elements. The one building that has managed to survive the ravages of war since it was built in 1491 is the Ko-do (Lecture Hall). Inside this hall are 15 original statues of Buddhist gods, forming a mandala, that are considered masterpieces of the Heian

era (750–1150). There's a daily morning service at 6 am in the Daishi-do with devotional chanting.

On the 21st of each month, a market known locally as Kobo-san after Kobo Daishi is held. Used and old kimonos, fans, furniture, potted plants, oriental medicine, kitchen utensils, and many other items can be found at bargain prices. A little patience and a pencil and paper to write down your desired price will make the venture an enjoyable one. A smaller antiques market is held on the first Sunday of the month.

Read More

Sight Information


1 Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto, 601-8473, Japan

Map It



Sight Details:

  • ¥500 main buildings, other parts free
  • Mar. 20–Sept. 19, daily 8:30–5:30; Sept. 20–Mar. 19, daily 8:30–4:30

Published 12/10/2015


Map View

Map of

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels

See all sights in Kyoto

Add Your Own Review

When did you go?

Minimum 200 character count

How many stars would you give?




Don't Miss

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.