Kyoto #42: 東福寺【Tofuku-Ji Temple】

What a wonderful temple
Tofuku-Ji Temple in Kyoto.

東福寺【Tofuku-Ji Temple】is one of the famous places where is known as one of the most famous places for autumn leaves in Kyoto.

It is a temple that is constantly visited by visitors to the beauty of the maple that fills the valley. In summer you can see early summer blue maple, and in autumn you can see Autumn leaves. Those seasonal sceneries attract many tourists, and I believe that’s something worth your time while you would be in Japan!!

It’s one of the representative Zen temples in Kyoto. In addition, the attraction is not only beautiful scenery but also buildings and gardens of Tofuku-Ji. This time, I’ll introduce all of the attractions of Tofuku-Ji, not just the autumn leaves. Let’s go to the traditional Kyoto world!!


Tofuku-Ji Temple

Tofuku-Ji Temple is the head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. It was built in 1236 on the instructions of Kujo Michiie, the great statesman of the Kamakura period, who desired to build in Kyoto temple complexes in Nara. Even its name, Tofukuji, is a combination of one character from the names of each of Nara’s temples 東大寺【Todai-Ji】and 興福寺【Kofuku-Ji】. (cited from Tofuku-Ji HP:

There are various buildings such as Sanmon, Hatto, Hojo and Buddha (show pics below) in the precincts, most of which are historical temples designated as national treasures and important cultural properties.

(cited from Tofuku-Ji HP:

三門【San-mon (Gate)】
San-mon is the most south of the precincts. The current gate was rebuilt in 1405 and is the oldest and largest gate among Zen temples in Japan. It is designated as a national treasure. It is a two-story structure called 五間三戸【Goken Sanko】 with five pillars and three entrances.

Hatto is the main hall of Tofukuji Temple, which is located in the north of Sanmon. In the past, the Buddha statue, which was 15 meters high, was enshrined, but Hatto and Buddha’s statues were destroyed by fire. The current building was rebuilt in 1934. The main shrine is a statue of Buddha Buddha, which was transferred from the other zen temple and is said to have been made in the late 13th century.

In addition, you can see a strange dragon ceiling picture along with your lord although you can’t enter inside. This is a beautiful and magnificent piece written by Japanese artist 堂本印象【Insho Domoto】 in just 16 days. Please don’t forget to check it!

There are four gardens, which express four seasons in Japan, surrounding the main building, all of which are made by the gardener重森三玲【Mirei Shigemori】 The garden was built 80 years ago, but it was restored to its original appearance in 2014, and it is a garden where you can still experience the passion and imagination of the young her.


They are located south, east, west and north.

South garden
South garden is in front of 方丈【Hojo】. There is a huge stone, expressing the island where the hermit lives, in the east of its garden.


East garden
East Garden, which continues from the south garden, is a small space with stones representing the Big Dipper.


West garden
West garden, Satsuki is arranged boldly, is called 大市松模様の庭【Ooichimatsumoyou no niwa】 which means it looks like a checked pattern.


North garden
North garden is the famous checkered pattern garden called 大市松模様の庭【Koichimatsumoyou no niwa】It’s a bit little smaller than the west garden.

Brilliant bridges at Tofuku-Ji
The most famous bridge in Tofuku-Ji is 通天橋【Tsutenbashi】, but there are several other bridges. 三ノ橋川【Sannobashi River】 flows through the precincts, and there are three bridges. These three wooden bridges are well known as the 東福寺三名橋【Tofuku-Ji Sanmeikyo】. You can see completely different sceneries from each bridge, so you should walk across them and spend your time with good vibes. I’ll show you one of them, “Tsutenbashi” below.

Tofuku-Ji is famous for its autumn leaves, but there are many other attractions besides the autumn leaves. You can enjoy the scenery of the seasons, and you can enjoy a stroll outside of the autumn leaves season, so please come and visit when you visit Kyoto.


Sightseeing Kyoto#1: 清水寺【Kiyomizu-Dera Temple】 Kyoto#2: 高台寺【Kodai-Ji Temple】 Kyoto#3: 金閣寺【Kinkaku-Ji […]


・ Open: 9:00-16:00

・Admission Fee: 400 yen (Adult)

・HP URL(English):