Toji-in Temple (等持院)


Toji-in Temple is a temple of the Tenryuji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Although the temple has a long history and is close to Kinkakuji Temple and Ryoanji Temple, it is quiet tourists rarely visit here.

Ashikaga Takauji, the first shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, invited the monk Muso Kokushi and founded Toji-in Temple in 1341 at the southern foot of Mount Kinugasa. It later became the family temple of successive generations of the Ashikaga shogunate. Therefore, it preserves cultural assets that tell the history of 15 generations of Ashikaga shoguns. Although the temple suffered from wars and fires such as the Onin War, Toyotomi Hideyoshi also attached great importance to this temple.

Toji-in buildings and gardens

In 1616 Masanori Fukushima built current Hojo (main hall) at Kaifukuin, a sub-temple of Myoshinji Temple. It moved to Toji-in in 1812. The sliding door paintings in the hojo were created by Kano Koi. You can see it once a year at the temple’s annual exhibition of temple treasures.

The main deity of Reikouden hall is Jizoson, a deity worshipped by Ashikaga Takauji, with statues of Daruma Daishi and Muso Kokushi on the left and right. The statues of Ashikaga’s successive shoguns (except for those of the 5th Yoshikazu and 14th Yoshihide) are lining on both sides.

The garden at Toji-in Temple was created by Muso Kokushi. There is a large center pond and flowering plants, trees, and stones surround the pond. Early summer and fall are the recommended seasons to visit the garden.

In the Shoin, visitors can sit and enjoy a cup of green tea while admiring the garden.

Viewing the garden from Shoin
Viewing the garden from Shoin

Toji-in Temple official WEB site

Nearby spots

World heritage Ryoanji temple is not far from Toji-in.

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  1. […] Toji-in Temple is the family temple of the Ashikaga Shoguns. With few tourists, visitors can enjoy the garden and other facilities in peace and quiet. […]