See the humorous Daruma painting and enjoy the four seasons of Kyoto at the prestigious garden of Toji-in Temple
Toji-in Temple is in the same popular area where you can also find Ninna-ji, Ryoan-ji, and Kinkaku-ji temples. But unlike these temples, Toji-in is located by a back alley, so there are not that many people at the temple, which means that you get to look at it in peace. The most obvious highlight of this temple is its garden, which changes its appearance depending on the season. The two gardens of the temple were designed by the famous Rinzai-sect Zen monk Muso Soseki (1275-1351) and they both have a completely different feel to them. You can also see the humorous Daruma in the hall way of the temple, but please also note the powerful brushwork on it. Compared to the other busier sightseeing spots of this area, it feels like time passes at a slower rate here at Toji-in Temple. If you visit this place, I’m sure you’ll feel soothed by the quietness of the garden and the four seasons of Japan.
The motif for this eastern garden, Shinji-ike, is the Chinese character for heart (心). This garden has a more subdued feeling when compared to a western garden, but in autumn it takes on a vivid look of the autumn leaves.
On the other hand, the western garden of Fuyo-chi is gorgeous. You can sit at the Sho-in drawing room of the temple, look at the beautiful garden, all the while you sip some matcha tea and enjoy a Japanese sweet. (Matcha tea is 500 yen, sencha tea is 300 yen.)
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Once you pay the entrance fee and enter the temple itself, you get to see this Daruma painting with its bold brushstrokes. The Daruma on the painting is actually Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk who is said to have been the founder of the Chinese Chan style of Buddhism, which later led to the birth of Japanese Zen Buddhism. The painting is vivid and powerful, but you can feel something endearing in the unique facial expression of the monk too.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -

Right now the main buildings of the temple are under renovation, but these renovations are expected to be finished by the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. When walking in the garden, be careful not to enter areas you’re not supposed to enter and not to block other people when you’re taking photos. 

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First, note that Toji-in and To-ji are completely different temples. To-ji is located a 15-minute walk from Kyoto Station, and Toji-in is located a 10-minute walk from the World Heritage Site of Ryoan-ji Temple. To-ji is a charming temple, but the best part of it has to be the huge Daruma sliding door painting, which in its frow also contains something humorous. The garden is also beautiful all year round, so the temple is worth a visit no matter which season you visit Kyoto.
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Toji-in Temple is in the same area as Ninna-ji and Kinkaku-ji, but it’s not as well known to tourists. The garden has a different look every season of the year. The best time to see the garden is at the end of November when you get to see the autumn leaves. This temple is off-the-beaten-path, so you get to enjoy it in peace.
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United States of America
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Toji-in Temple / 等持院
Category Temples & Shrines, Japanese Gardens
Phone +81 75-461-5786
Address 63 Tojiin Kitamachi, Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Directions A 10-minute walk from Keifuku Electric Railroad (Randen) Tojiin Station. An 8-minute walk from Kyoto City Bus #10 or #26 Tojiin Minamimachi bus stop. A 10-minute walk from Kyoto City Bus #12, #15, #50, #51, #55, #59, or JR Bus Ritsumeikan Daigaku-mae bus stop.
Open Hours 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (Entrance until 4 p.m.) From December 30 to January 3: 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (Entrance until 2:30 p.m.)
Reservations Matcha available by reservation for groups of over 10 people. Reservations required for group visits.
Closed Open every day.
Price range
Adults 300 yen, children 200 yen. The entrance fee is currently lower than normal because of the renovation work being done at the temple. *The normal entrance fee is 500 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.
Credit cards Not accepted.
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
At the reception, they’re able to speak some simple English.
Information Japanese but they have fliers in English.
Lanuages spoken Japanese
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