Toji means Eastern Temple and has a very long history. The religious foundations of Kyoto were laid here, and Buddha has guarded the city where Kukai founded the temple in 796. Kukai, also known as Kobo Daishi made Toji the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism. The sect’s esoteric rituals depended heavily on the mandalas. In the Kodo, there are 21 statues that form a three-dimensional mandala, in the center of which is Dainichinyorai, the cosmic Buddha who first enunciated the esoteric teachings. Each of these and other images about 1,200 years old are carved in a unique block of wood.
Five Storied Pagoda and Antique Market
The great Toji pagoda Japan’s tallest wooden structure – 55m – and a symbol of Kyoto, was rebuilt in 1644. Inside are images of four Buddhas and their followers. Kukai’s death is commemorated on the 21st of each month in the precinct with a antique market that the locals call Kobo-san. Many shoppers take time out to make a short pilgrimage to Miei-do where they make offerings of money and incense.
From Toji (Kintetsu Line) or Kyoto (JR Line) station, or Toji-Higashimon-Mae, Toji-Minamimon-Mae, Toji-Nishimon-Mae or Kujo-Omiya bus stop
Free entrance to the precinct (You need to buy tickets to enter Main Hall, Five Storied Pagoda, etc)
From 5:00 to 17:00