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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Eastern Kyoto
Kodaiji Temple 
# 17   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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Kodaiji (高台寺, Kōdaiji) is an outstanding temple in Kyoto's Higashiyama District. It was established in 1606 in memory of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan's greatest historical figures, by Hideyoshi's wife Nene who is also enshrined at the temple.

Kodaiji belongs to the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Its main buildings were constructed in the lavish style of the era of Japan's unification with the financial support of Hideyoshi's successor Tokugawa Ieyasu. They feature richly decorated interiors and are surrounded by beautiful Zen gardens.

Kodaiji's rock garden

Visitors can enter Kodaiji's main hall (Hojo), which was originally covered in lacquer and gold, but was rebuilt in a more modest style after it burned down in 1912. The building is surrounded on two sides by impressive gardens designed by leading contemporary masters. The gardens are lit up during special illumination shows in spring and autumn.

One of the gardens is a rock garden consisting of a large field of raked gravel meant to represent the vast ocean. The other garden is an impressive tsukiyama style garden featuring a pond, man made hills, decorative rocks and beautiful pine and maple trees, the latter of which turn brilliant shades of red and orange during the autumn color season. Within this garden stands the Kaizando (memorial hall) where Nene would pray for Hideyoshi and which now enshrines wooden images of both of them.

Kodaiji's Tsukiyama garden with Kaizando Hall

Up on the hillside behind the temple lies a mausoleum for Hideyoshi and Nene. The interior is richly decorated with special lacquerwork, known as Kodaiji Makie, that features designs of powdered gold and silver set in lacquer, a technique that Kodaiji is famous for. Further up the hill are two tea houses, one of which was designed by the tea master Sen no Rikyu, as Hideyoshi was a fervent tea ceremony practitioner. The return path to the temple buildings passes through a bamboo grove.

After one exits the temple, a series of steps, named Nene's Path, will lead back down to the streets of the Higashiyama District. Across the street from Nene's Path is a recently redeveloped area with some shops and cafes. This area is also home to the small Kodaiji Sho Museum, which exhibits treasures of Kodaiji, Nene and several pieces of lacquer artwork. The complex is surrounded by the buildings of Entokuin Temple, a small subtemple of Kodaiji that features two more Zen gardens.

Bamboo grove

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there

Kodaiji is located in the Higashiyama District between Yasaka Shrine and Kiyomizudera. It is a 5-10 minute walk from Higashiyama Yasui bus stop (15 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by bus number 100 or 206).

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Kodaiji Temple
Hours:9:00 to 17:30 (entry until 17:00)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:600 yen (Kodaiji and Sho Museum)
900 yen (Kodaiji, Sho Museum and Entokuin)

Kodaiji Sho Museum
Hours:9:30 to 18:00
Closed:No closing days
Admission:300 yen

Entokuin Temple
Hours:10:00 to 17:30 (entry until 17:00)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:500 yen

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Gion Hatanaka
A real Japanese inn in a quiet area of Gion, famous for Geisha. 15min walk to Kiyomizu-dera. 5min to Yasaka-jinja.
Ryokan Saka-no-ue
Traditional, cozy ryokan with 12 rooms. Japanese cottage style houses available. Located near Yasaka Shrine and Gion.
Ryokan Motonago
A real traditional inn at Gion with 11 rooms, friendly staff. Walking distance of Kiyomizu-dera, Yasaka-jinja and more.
Gion Shinmonso
A fine ryokan in the Gion near geisha streets. Easy access to Kiyomizu-dera and Yasaka-jinja. Special offers available.
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Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
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Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
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Khaosan Kyoto Guest House
Cheap and popular hostel located in the heart of the city near Kawaramachi Station.
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New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
Reasonably priced 3-star hotel located just across the street from Kyoto Station.
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Royal Park Hotel The Kyoto
Modern hotel along Sanjo Street close to Pontocho and other dining options.
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Tours and Packages
Experience the Real Japan With MeetUs Kyoto
Take a trip to Kyoto and meet new people while learning about Japan. English-speaking students offer opportunities for cultural exchange with locals.
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Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Kodaiji Temple:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 531 users):
84/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 764):
207.  Odaiba (Tokyo)   85/100
208.  Chusonji Temple (Hiraizumi)   84/100
209.  Open Air Museum (Hakone)   84/100
210.  Aoi Matsuri (Kyoto)   84/100
211.  Narai (Kiso Valley)   84/100
212.  Kodaiji Temple (Kyoto)   84/100
213.  Kintai-kyo Bridge (Iwakuni)   84/100
214.  Shinjuku Gyoen (Tokyo)   84/100
215.  Shiga Kogen Resort (Yamanouchi)   84/100
216.  Universal Studios (Osaka)   84/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 894):
61.  Sanjusangendo (Kyoto)   1109
62.  Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo)   1105
63.  Horyuji Temple (Nara)   1104
64.  Ghibli Museum (Tokyo)   1085
65.  Nishiki Market (Kyoto)   1083
66.  Kodaiji Temple (Kyoto)   1070
67.  Shiodome (Tokyo)   1052
68.  Yasukuni Shrine (Tokyo)   1036
69.  Yebisu Garden Place (Tokyo)   1023
70.  Kobe Harborland (Kobe)   1022

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English Links
Kodaiji Temple
Official English website.
Entokuin Temple
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Kodaiji Temple
Official website.
Kodaiji Sho Museum
Official website.
Entokuin Temple
Official website.

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