Rokkakudo Temple Kyoto

Temples & Shrines: Rokkaku-do (Chobo-ji Temple), Kyoto

Rokkaku-do 六角堂

Rokkaku-do (aka Choboji Temple; 頂法寺) is an urban Buddhist temple located just south of Karasuma-Oike Station in the center of Kyoto. Rokkaku-do is famous as the birthplace of ikebana flower arrangement in Japan, ikebana being one of the arts and crafts of Kyoto.

Legend has it that Rokkaku-do was founded by Prince Shotoku in 587 when a small pond was located here. The prince supposedly bathed in the pond and in a dream was told to found a temple on that spot.

The name Rokkaku (literally "six angles," i.e., "hexagon") refers to the hexagonal shape of the Hondo, or main hall.

Rokkakudo aka Chobo Temple, Kyoto.
The Main Entrance Gate at Rokkakudo (Chobo Temple), Kyoto
Rokkakudo aka Chobo Temple, Kyoto.
Main Hall, Rokkakudo aka Chobo Temple, Kyoto

The priest Shinran, the founder of the Shin Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism, is said to have made a 100-day retreat here after coming down from Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei.

In the 15th century, the 12th abbot of the temple, Sankei Ikenobo, created a method of flower arrangement that came to be known as ikebana in the monks' residence near the temple pond or ike-no-bo. The flowers were originally an offering to an image of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.

The priest's style of floral arrangement to the goddess was carried on by a family who lived behind the temple and thus ikebana was born. The modern school of flower arrangement has its headquarters here to this day in the tall, modern building north-west of the temple on Karasuma Dori.

The temple buildings you see today at Rokkakudo date from 1876, in Japan's Meiji Period.

Rokkakudo's pleasant temple grounds, though small, include willow trees, large stone lanterns, a couple of small shinto shrines with ema boards and a reconstruction of the original pond with abundant koi carp in the water.

Rokkakudo Temple, Kyoto.
Chozuya Water Font, Rokkakudo Temple, Kyoto
Rokkakudo aka Chobo Temple, Kyoto.
Rokkakudo (Chobo Temple), Kyoto

Rokkakudo Access - how to get to Rokkakudo in Kyoto

248 Dono-mae, Higashinotoin-dori, Rokkaku-nishiiru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075 221 2686
Hours: 6am-5pm
Admission Free.

Rokkakudo is located just a short stroll south east of Karasuma Oike Station on the Kyoto subway, just off Karasuma Dori.

Kyoto buses #9 from Kyoto Station and the Raku Bus #101 all run to Nijo Station which is west of Rokkakudo Temple.

Ema (votive plaques) at Rokkakudo Temple, Kyoto.
Ema (votive plaques) at Rokkakudo Temple, Kyoto.

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