Koetsuji Temple

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Koetsuji Temple is a must-visit for anyone exploring Kyoto. Its blend of art, nature, and tranquility offers a unique experience. Plan a visit in autumn for the best views. Enjoy the serene beauty and rich history of this hidden Kyoto treasure.

Located in Kyoto, Koetsuji Temple is a hidden gem. This serene temple offers a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. It is a place where art and nature harmoniously blend.

Kyoto City Official Travel Guide

History of Koetsuji Temple

Koetsuji Temple was established in the 17th century (1656) by Honami Koetsu. He was a renowned artist and calligrapher. This land was given to Koetsu by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Koetsu turned this land into an artistic retreat. Over time, it became a temple of the Nichiren School of Buddhism.


The temple is famous for its beautiful gardens. These gardens showcase traditional Japanese landscaping. In autumn, the gardens are a vibrant tapestry of red and gold leaves. The temple’s thatched-roof gate and stone pathways add to its rustic charm.

There are seven teahouses on the grounds, including the Daikyoan.

a teahouse in the Koetsuji Temple

The Gardens

Koetsuji Temple has a beautiful garden. The unique bamboo fence surrounding the Daikyoan tea house is called “Koetsu-gaki”.

Koetsu-gaki bamboo fence

From the garden, the Takagamine and Washigamine peaks can be seen nearby, and the mountains of the 36 peaks of Higashiyama can be seen in the distance.

view from the Koetsuji Temple

Art and Architecture

Koetsuji Temple houses several important cultural properties. These include calligraphy works by Koetsu himself. The temple buildings are simple yet elegant. They exemplify traditional Japanese architecture. However, cultural properties are usually not open to the public.

Visiting Koetsuji Temple

Koetsuji Temple is accessible by bus from Kyoto Station. Visitors can take the city bus and alight at the Takagamine Genkoan-mae stop.

Best Time to Visit Koetsuji Temple

Autumn is the best time to visit Koetsuji Temple. The fall foliage is spectacular. Spring is also lovely, with cherry blossoms in bloom. The temple is less crowded than other Kyoto attractions, making it a tranquil visit.

Early May is also a good time to visit this temple. In the garden, fresh green maple leaves are beautiful and many azaleas are in bloom.

Koetsuji Temple

Day Tours from Kyoto

The Takagamine area hosts several small but beautiful temples. Other sites in Takagamine include Genko-an Temple, where you can see famous “Window of Enlightenment” and “Window of Confusion”. Genko-an also has one of blood ceilings.

Another temple in this area is Joshoji Temple. This temple is associated with a famous geisha in Edo period, Yoshino Tayu.

The famous Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavilion) and Ryoanji Temple are also not far.

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  1. […] Koetsuji Temple is associated with Hon’ami Koetsu, an artist of the early Edo period. The view from the garden is spectacular. […]