Kyoto Temples & Shrines: Tojiin
Tojiin Temple 等持院
- Founded in 1338.
- Located in northwest Kyoto.
- Beautiful Japanese garden and tea house.
- Temple of the Ashikaga shoguns.
Located at the foot of Mount Kinugasa in the northwest part of Kyoto, Tojiin Temple was the ancestral temple of the Ashikaga shoguns.
It was founded in 1338 by Lord Takauji Ashikaga (1305-1358), who had the renowned landscape designer Soseki Muso create the gardens and ponds on the grounds. The garden at Tojiin Temple is divided into an eastern part ("Shinji-chi") and western ("Fuyo-cho, or Lotus Pond).
At the northern end is a tea house with a thatched roof, which was built by the shogun Yoshimasa. The garden contains many camellias, Japanese maples, and other species to mark the seasons.
The present buildings seen at Toji-in date from 1818. The Main Hall contains an image of Jizo-Bosatsu, thought to be the work of Dengyo Daishi (aka Saicho 767-822), the founder of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism, as well as statutes of all the Ashikaga shogun except the fifth and tenth.
The fusuma (sliding screens) in the hall were painted in Indian ink by Sanraku Kano (1559-1635).
Pictured above right is a screen painting at Toji-in of the priest Daruma, or Boddhidharma, the legendary monk who supposedly carried the secrets of Zen from India to China, and whose image is found in the eponymous Daruma dolls in Japan. Legend has it that Boddhidharma tore off his eyelids to prevent him falling asleep while meditating, hence his rather bug-eyed look and also lost the use of his legs from his long Zazen meditation sittings.
Admission Fee: 500 yen; 5.30am-4-30pm.
(075) 461 5786
Take bus #50 from Kyoto station; Keifuku Line to Tojiin Station.
Toji-in Temple is near to a number of other Kyoto temples and attractions in this attractive area of west Kyoto near Ritumeikan University's Kinugasa campus. These include Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion), Ryoanji's Zen Rock Garden and Ninnaji Temple all of which can be seen in a series. The Insho Domoto Museum and Ritsumeikan's Peace Museum are also nearby.
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