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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Southern Kyoto
Tofukuji Temple 
# 25   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

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Tsutenkyo Bridge during autumn

 
Autumn Color Report 2014
 

Tofukuji (, Tōfukuji) is a large Zen temple in southeastern Kyoto that is particularly famous for its spectacular autumn colors. The temple was founded in 1236 at the behest of the powerful Fujiwara clan. Its name is a combination of the names of two great temples in Nara that were also associated with the Fujiwara, Todaiji Temple and Kofukuji Temple. Tofukuji has historically been one of the principal Zen temples in Kyoto, and is a head temple of one of the schools of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.

In autumn, people come from all over Japan to see Tofukuji's autumn colors. The most popular view is of the Tsutenkyo Bridge, which spans a valley of lush maple trees. The view from the bridge is equally spectacular, and the 100 meter long, covered walkway becomes extremely crowded when the colors reach their peak, usually around mid to late November.

Sanmon Gate

Several parts of Tofukuji's temple grounds are free to enter, including the area around some of its largest and most impressive buildings. The 22 meter tall Sanmon Gate is the oldest Zen gate of its kind, dating back to 1425. Behind the gate is the Hondo (main hall), which is even larger but is a recent reconstruction from 1934.

Surrounding those two massive structures are a number of temple buildings that date back to the early Muromachi Period (1333-1573) and are rare examples of surviving Zen architecture from that era, including the meditation hall (zendo), belfry (shoro), bath (yokushitsu) and lavatory (tosu).

Hojo Garden

The Hojo, the head priest's former living quarters, is one of Tofukuji's two paid areas. Rock gardens were often built alongside hojo buildings, but the gardens at Tofukuji's Hojo are unique for surrounding the building on all sides. Each garden has a different character, employing pebbles, large rocks, moss, trees and checkered patters. The Hojo was most recently reconstructed in 1890 while the gardens are relatively modern creations dating from the late 1930s.

The other paid area consists of the above mentioned Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall, which serves as the mausoleum of the temple's first head priest. The stone path in front of the Kaisando is flanked by contrasting gardens on both sides, a dry rock garden on the left and a lush pond garden on the right. The Kaisando and its gardens were last reconstructed during the Edo Period (1603-1867).

Kaisando Hall

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Tofukuji is a ten minute walk from Tofukuji Station on the JR Nara Line (2 minutes, 140 yen from Kyoto Station) and the Keihan Main Line. Alternatively, the temple is a ten minute walk from Tofukuji bus stop (15 minutes, 230 yen from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus 208).

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Hours: 9:00 to 16:30 (April to October)
8:30 to 16:30 (November to early December)
9:00 to 16:00 (early December to March)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed:No closing days
Admission:400 yen (Tsutenkyo Bridge and Kaisando Hall), 400 yen (Hojo and gardens)

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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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Tours and Packages
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Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Tofukuji Temple:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 358 users):
83/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 786):
249.  Minami (Namba) (Osaka)   83/100
250.  Tokugawa Art Museum (Nagoya)   83/100
251.  Daikakuji Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
252.  Hikone Castle (Hikone)   83/100
253.  Town Center (Kinosaki)   83/100
254.  Tofukuji Temple (Kyoto)   83/100
255.  Tamagawa Onsen (Hachimantai)   83/100
256.  Owakudani (Hakone)   83/100
257.  Gion Yamakasa (Fukuoka)   83/100
258.  Minato Mirai (Yokohama)   83/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
108.  Sakae (Nagoya)   721
109.  Beppu Hot Springs (Beppu)   712
110.  Mount Misen (Miyajima)   712
111.  Yamate and Motomachi (Yokohama)   712
112.  Walking Trails (Miyajima)   704
113.  Tofukuji Temple (Kyoto)   704
114.  Gion Matsuri (Kyoto)   700
115.  Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (Kobe)   696
116.  Toshodaiji Temple (Nara)   693
117.  Tokyo Skytree (Tokyo)   690

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English Links
Tofukuji Temple
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Tofukuji Temple
Official website.

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