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To-ji temple is selected as location of JR central’s visiting Kyoto campaign
JR central which operate Tokaido Shinkansen conducts visiting Kyoto campaign every year. They have chosen To-ji as this autumn campaign spot. They started to broadcast its attraction on TV.
When the spot is selected for campaign, it tend to become more popular place to visit. I went there when I was in junior high school. Even now, it is popular spot for students to visit during school trip. In particular, this world heritage would attract more attention from people this autumn.
History of To-ji Temple
Toji Temple, which means “East Temple” literally, was founded at the beginning of the Heian Period just after the capital of Japan was transferred from Nara to Kyoto in 794.
Kobo Daishi (or Kukai), the founder of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism, was appointed head priest of To-ji. He made To-ji the central seminary of Shingon Buddhism and added various buildings such as the pagoda and halls.
The Five Story Pagoda
In the south east corner of the grounds stands the famous five storied pagoda, which is the one of the symbols of Toji temple and Kyoto.
It is 55 meters high, which was for many centuries the tallest building in Kyoto until Kyoto Tower was built in 1964. But it is still the tallest wooden tower in Japan.
Its wooden timbers are easy to fire. It was burnt down four times and built again and again each time. The last time it was rebuilt was in 1644.
In addition to its impressive array of building, Toji possesses an extraordinary collection of Buddhist art, such as sculptures, mandalas, and implements used in esoteric rituals, which demonstrates that Toji was the center of Shingon practice in Kyoto.
As well as other temples, it is so beautiful in Autumn. From Oct 28th 2017 to Dec 10th 2017, you can see night light up. It’s amazing! Don’t miss it!
(It is only about 15 minutes walk from Kyoto station)