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.)
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.