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Toji Temple

Listed under Temples in Kyoto, Japan.

  • Photo of Toji Temple
  • Photo of Toji Temple
  • Photo of Toji Temple
  • Photo of Toji Temple
  • Photo of Toji Temple
  • Photo of Toji Temple
Photo of Toji Temple
Photo by flickr user MShades
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Stocky and wooden, the Toji Pagoda isn't as gracefully beautiful as some of the other temples I've seen in Kyoto, but it is the tallest, at 55metres, in Japan, and this latest construction was built at the very beginning of the 17th Century, which is excellent going for a wooden structure. You don't have to pay to go into the pagoda and garden, but you do have to pay to go into the temple proper and the treasure house which was built from wood but without nails – I have a theory that this is what helped it to survive earthquakes. You can't go inside the pagoda, but it was actually really pleasant to stroll though the garden taking photos of the pagoda – the manicured park with the pagoda at the focal point is literally as pretty as a picture.

Koi and turtles co-exist in seeming harmony in the huge lotus laden pond, the trees go about their business slowly turning golden with the seasons and people take photos of the big, wooden, five storey pagoda, taking note of the lack of fancy ornamentation but the rather lovely metal details on the doors and wood gargoyle-esque characters who help hold up the roofs.

Not far from Kyoto station – about 15 – 20 mins walk so worth visiting even for the beautiful free garden if you have a spare hour and a half or so.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

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Toji Temple Market

Toji Temple hosts a vibrant market on the 21st of each month where you can buy everything from priceless antiques to traditional medicines to local produce to paper fans to tea kettles to crafts and handmade objects d’art to trashy souvenirs or shampoo. The market is like experiencing the whole of Japan in miniature: the bustle contrasting with the serene surrounds of the temple and it‘s courtyard. Second hand kimono and other clothing is cheap and you can get some excellent quality items including obis and haoris for only a few thousand yen. Hand painted scrolls and wood block prints in a range of qualities are also on offer - if you have ten to thirty thousand yen to spare you can walk away with a beautiful piece of art. Unlike most Japanese markets it’s ok to haggle - a bit and as long as you’re polite about it, but you usually won’t be able to get things for less than 90% of the asking price. Cheaper stalls are in the courtyard near the temple’s northern gate with unique and antique items on the southern side. December and January are the best months to go and to get the best choice of items you need to get there early. Vendors pack up around four so aim to arrive before lunch.

Toji Temple

Once one of a pair protecting a gate representing the whole nation, Toji Buddhist Temple is an impressive five storey (57m) high wooden pagoda dating from the Edo period (around 790 AD.).

Unfortunately public entry to the pagoda is only allowed a couple of days each year, but you can visit the ‘house’ part of the temple where you can see 21 Buddhist sculptures and wander the beautifully manicured grounds complete with turtle and koi pools freely.

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