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Kodaiji (䎛, 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.

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 usually in late November. Within this garden stands the Kaizando (memorial hall) where Nene would pray for Hideyoshi and which now enshrines wooden images of both of them.

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.

Getting there and around

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 206).

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Hours and Fees

Kodaiji Temple

Hours

Closed

Admission

Kodaiji Sho Museum

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Closed

Admission

Entokuin Temple

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Kyoto

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    • Kyonoyado Gekkoan
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      Set in the Nakagyo Ward district in Kyoto, Kyonoyado Gekkoan offers an equipped accommodation with an balcony and free WiFi. The property is 1.1 km from Nijo Castle. This holiday home comes with a kitchenette with a microwave and a toaster, a flat-screen TV, a seating area and a bathroom with a bath. A vegetarian or continental breakfast is available daily at the property. Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.1 km from the holiday home. Osaka Itami Airport is 37 km from the property.
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    • Mitsuki Kyoto
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Kyoto, 600 metres from Kyoto International Manga Museum and 1.4 km from the centre, Mitsuki Kyoto offers air-conditioned accommodation with free WiFi, and a garden. This 2-star ryokan offers full-day security and luggage storage space. The accommodation provides a concierge service and a housekeeping service for guests. The units in the ryokan are equipped with a kettle. There is a private bathroom with bidet in every unit, along with slippers, a hair dryer and free toiletries. At the ryokan, the units are equipped with bed linen and towels. The ryokan serves a vegetarian and vegan breakfast and breakfast in the room is also available. A bar can be found on-site. Nijo Castle is 1.1 km from Mitsuki Kyoto, while Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall is 1.8 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 46 km from the accommodation.
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    • ZQXgnEX Rokkon guest house
      Budget-friendly
      ZQXgnEX Rokkon guest house features accommodation located less than 1 km from the centre of Kyoto and offers a garden and a terrace. This 2-star guest house offers a 24-hour front desk and full-day security. The accommodation provides a hot tub, free WiFi throughout the property and family rooms. At the guest house, all units include a private bathroom. A minimarket is available at the guest house. Guests at the guest house will be able to enjoy activities in and around Kyoto, like cycling. Popular points of interest near ZQXgnEX Rokkon guest house include Kyoto International Manga Museum, Nijo Castle and Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 46 km from the accommodation.
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    • Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Kyoto, this traditional Japanese guest house features free Wi-Fi and a free public computer. Shichijo Onmae bus stop is 3 minutesf walk away. A seating area and shared bathroom are provided with each room at Guesthouse KYOTO COMPASS. Free toiletries are provided and blankets are available upon request. Select rooms have a garden view. A shared living area and bicycles are available for guestsf use during their stay at this Kyoto Guesthouse Compass. Access to the shared kitchen is available upon request. The guest house is 4.5 km from Imperial Palace and 2.2 km from Kyoto Station. Nijo Castle and Toji Castle are within a 30 minutesf bus ride away.
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    • Ryokan Tori
      Mid-range
      Ryokan Tori is located in Kyoto, 2 km from Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. The property is around 2.3 km from Nijo Castle and Kyoto Imperial Palace. The property is 3.2 km from Kinkaku-ji Temple and 3.7 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum. All guest rooms in the ryokan are fitted with a kettle. Each room has a shared bathroom, while selected rooms are fitted with a balcony and others also offer a garden view. All rooms will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at tori can enjoy an Asian breakfast. Heian Shrine is 5 km from the accommodation. Itami Airport is 50 km from the property.
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    • Yado Kiramachi
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      Yado Kiramachi offers accommodation set 600 metres from the centre of Kyoto and provides a garden and a terrace. The air-conditioned accommodation is 600 metres from Kyoto Shigaku Kaikan Conference Hall. The ryokan features family rooms. Certain units in the ryokan have private entrance and are equipped with desk and wardrobe. With a private bathroom, units at the ryokan also have free WiFi, while selected rooms will provide you with a balcony. At the ryokan, some units are soundproof. A bar can be found on-site. Kyoto International Manga Museum is 1.3 km from the ryokan, while Gion Shijo Station is 1.6 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 45 km from Yado Kiramachi.
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    • Guesthouse Engawa
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      Guesthouse Engawa offers accommodation in Kyoto. Guests can relax and enjoy the peace and quiet of Kyoto in their rooms. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, and an electric kettle will be provided upon request. Bathroom facilities are shared with other guests. Free toiletries and hairdryers are also available. There is luggage storage space at the property. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is 600 metres from Guesthouse Engawa, while Heian Shrine is 2.4 km from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Gallery Nozawa Inn
      Budget-friendly
      Gallery Nozawa Inn offers accommodation in Kyoto, 25 minutes on foot from JR Kyoto Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Every room includes a flat-screen TV and air conditioning. Each room is equipped with a private toilet, and bathrooms are shared. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. Guests can sample Japanese-style breakfast featuring seasonal ingredients. There is a public bathhouse located a 10-minute walk away. Nijo Castle is 2.4 km from Gallery Nozawa Inn, while Kyoto International Manga Museum is 2.4 km from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 36 km away.
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    • Guesthouse HANA Nishijin
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