Daitoku-ji Temple

Travel Guide - Daitoku-ji Temple


Daitoku-ji Temple was established in 1325 and is one of the biggest Zen temples in Kyoto.
The temple was supported by many feudal lords, court nobles, and influential people of culture during the medieval and early modern ages, such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Sen-no-Rikyu.
The precincts of the temple, which belongs to the Rinzai school of Zen, contain an extensive complex of 24 sub-temples and among 4 of these (Ryogen-in, Zuiho-in, Daisen-in, and Koto-in) are always open to the visitors.

Daitoku-ji is on the eastern side of the grounds.
It was founded in 1319, burnt down in the next century, and rebuilt in the 16th century.
The San-mon Gate contains an image of the famous tea master, Sen-no-Rikyu on the 2nd story.
According to some historical sources, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was so enraged when he discovered he had been demeaning himself by walking under the Rikyu's image, that he forced the tea master to commit Seppuku (Harakiri) in 1591.
The Hojo garden in Daitoku-ji is a dry landscape garden designed by Kobori Enshu in the 17th century.
The east garden depicts the image of Buddha’s disciples practicing Zazen meditation.
This garden is only open to people who join the Garden Tour operated daily.

Daisen-in was built in 1636 as a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji.
Its dry landscape garden is famed as a masterpiece of gardening developed for Zen temples.
When you open the sliding paper doors, you will see the garden creating a panoramic scene resembling the landscape paintings you can find on sliding partition doors or folding screens in traditional Japanese homes.
It represents the mental state of a Zen Buddhist priest going through ascetic practices in a natural surrounding.

Koto-in located in the western part of the grounds is also a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji.
The temple with superb Japanese gardens were founded by Hosokawa Tadaoki in 1601.
The temple has tombs of the Hosokawa family, including that of Tadaoki himself and his wife Hosokawa Gracia.

Opening Hours

  • 9:00 - 17:00 (March - November)
  • 9:00 - 16:30 (December - February)


  • No closing days

Access / Public Transport

  • 15 minutes walk from Kitaoji Station on the Kyoto Municipal Subway Karasuma Line (K04)
  • 35 minutes from JR Kyoto Station by the #206 bus . Get off at Daitokuji-mae Bus stop.

Address / Location

* Please click each address to show the location.


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