Temples of Kyoto – Kodaiji

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With 16000 temples and over 400 shrines, Kyoto has no shortage of places to visit. In fact,  the hardest part about coming here on holiday is trying to figure out which sites you should go out of your way to see and which ones you should leave for your next visit. As with tourist destinations all over the world, the most famous sites are not always the best. The Higashiyama (Eastern Mountain) District is widely known as one of Kyoto’s most beautiful areas but even in this district alone there are more temples than can be seen in one visit.

This beautiful garden is famous for it’s autumn foliage but it looks good all year round.

Rather than talk about which ones I like the best I thought I would introduce a few of the temples on this website through photos that I have taken on previous visits and let the images speak for themselves. The following black and whites have all been taken at Kodaiji and it’s sub-temple Entokuin.

Kodaiji’s atmospheric bamboo forest

Kodaiji was established by the wife of the “great unifier” Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was the custom of the day that the widowed wives of aristocracy would become Buddhist nuns upon their husband’s death. (a policy that was as unpopular then as it would be today) Toyotomi’s wife Nene established this beautiful temple in 1608 and it has changed little since. Although nothing could be better than visiting in person, hopefully the following pictures will give you some idea of it’s charm.

There are loads of places in Kyoto and around Japan where you can enjoy a cup of “matcha” but very few of them will let you experience it the way it was meant to be. If you make it to Enotku-in make sure you pay the extra 500¥ crawl in to the tiny teahouse next to the garden.
The old stairs at Kodaiji give a sense of the temple’s old history.
This isn’t one of the teahouses that Kodaiji is famous for but I love it all the same.

The big sights and gardens always get all the press but it’s often the small things at all the temples that most people remember.

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