Toji-in Temple in Kyoto

Located in a maze of quiet streets just south of the more besieged byways at Ryoan-ji and Kinkaku-ji Temples, Toji-in Temple offers a relaxing interlude from disruptive noise and flag-waving tour groups. Matcha green tea with a seasonal wagashi sweet can be savored in the sho/n-style study while admiring the classic garden originally designed by the Zen master Muso Soseki (1275-1351). Slippers are used for stepping down and into the garden for a closer look at the thatched Seirentei teahouse and to experience the changing perspectives and vistas while exploring the circuitous paths linking two ponds in the beautifully landscaped grounds. The far Shinji-ike Pond is secluded enough to attract an occasional heron.

Toji-in Temple in Kyoto Photo Gallery



Takauji Ashikaga, the first Ashikaga shogun, completed Toji-in, a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple, in 1341. The temple halls are connected by covered wooden walkways that create a gallery for some of the temple’s artistic holdings, including a large graphic painting of Daruma, the legendary monk credited with conveying the tenets of Zen from India to China. The elevated verandas of unpainted planks at Toji-in also provide pleasing views of the stroll garden, with its lotusshaped pond filled with clouds. The subdued karesansui “dry landscape” garden located in front of the Abbot’s Hall is naturally conducive to a meditative pause.

Autumn in the Fuyo-chi Garden, designed by gifted Zen priest Muso Soseki in the 14th century.

Tea is served in the Shoin Study.

An ephemeral branch of crimson momiji maple leaves.

A tsuitate standing screen painting depicts the legendary monk Daruma, the original purveyor of Zen tenets from India to China.

Smooth wooden verandas connect the temple halls.

A simple tsukubai composed of a round stone basin with bamboo spigot and ladle at the

Seirentei teahouse.

The Hondo Hall’s karesansui dry landscape garden.

An earth-and-log bridge leads to an islet in Shinji Pond.

Afternoon sunlight reveals the work of virtuoso carpenters in the architectural elements of the entry hall.

A gracious attendant serves matcha green tea by the garden.

The thatched Seirentei teahouse overlooks the temple’s manicured Fuyo-chi Garden.

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