Tōfuku-ji 東福寺

Hello!

Today I want to tell you about my favorite temple in Kyoto.

This is a Buddhist temple complex in the southeast of Kyoto.
Tōfuku-ji was founded in 1236 by the imperial chancellor Kujō Michiie. He appointed the monk Enni as founding priest, who had studied Rinzai Zen Buddhism in China under the monk Wuzhun Shifan. The temple was burned but rebuilt in the 15th century according to original plans. Tofuku-ji was one of the five temples of the Five Mountain System. The temple belongs to the Zen school of Rinzai. The name of the temple is combined from the names of the largest temples in Nara – Kofuku-ji and Todai-ji. The temple was built at the direction of Kujo Mitiie, a prominent political figure in Japan from the Kamakura period.

northern garden
northern garden

The gates of the Sammon temple are the most ancient of the gates of Zen temples in Japan and are a national treasure. The height of the building is 22 meters.

The whole temple complex includes 24 churches, although there were 53 buildings before, many buildings were not preserved.

The temple is famous for its maples, the red leaves of which become very picturesque in the autumn.

On the territory of the temple complex there are many gardens, the most famous of them are 4 Zen gardens (North, South, West and East) of the Hojo temple – the building where the monks lived. The gardens were created in 1939 by Mirai Sigamori, a famous Japanese expert on landscape architecture and a Japanese garden historian, and solved in different styles and directions.

The northern garden is a platform on which small squares of moss and stone are staggered.

The southern garden consists of 4 groups of stones and boulders, located on a plot of gravel. In the right corner of the west side there are five moss-covered “mountains” and a single bonsai in the right erect style.

Southern garden
Southern garden

The western garden is a combination of azaleas bushes formed in parallelepipeds, separate planting of bushes and garden bonsai and “lawns” from moss.

western garden
western garden

The eastern garden consists of seven cylindrical stones of different heights, arranged in the order of the stars in the constellation Ursa Major. These stones were originally used as foundation stones in various buildings of the temple. The stones are located on a typical field of gravel.

eastern garden
eastern garden

The western garden is a combination of azaleas bushes formed in low parallelepipeds with a square base, located on a crushed stone “field” and “lawn” of moss.

More beautiful photos

How to get to Tofukuji?
The Temple complex is a 10-minute walk from Tofukuji Subway Station, where the Keihan and JR Nara trains run. A trip from the main station of Kyoto to Tofukuji station takes 4 minutes.