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Kozanji Temple 高山寺

An ancient temple enveloped by a magnificent forest

Kozanji is an ancient temple set in a lovely forest to the northwest of Kyoto. Said to have been established in the 8th century, the temple was restored in the 12th century by the high priest Myoe. It is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site.

Don't Miss

  • A visit during fall to view the autumn colors
  • Viewing the Kiyotaki River Valley from the temple balcony

Quick Facts

The four painted scrolls are considered to be the first manga in Japan

The precinct also contains the oldest tea fields in Japan, believed to have been first planted by Myoe

How to Get There

You can reach Kozanji by train or bus.

Take the JR Bus Takao/Keihoku Route to Toganoo from Kyoto Station . Alternatively, take the #8 bus from Shijo Station and get off at Toganoo bus stop.

The most important structure of Kozanji

Kozanji's most important structure is the Sekisui-in, the former residence of a member of the imperial family who moved to the temple, and now designated as a National Treasure. It is one of the last remaining examples of Kamakura period architecture.


Sekisuiin is famous for its Choju-Jinbutsu-giga—four painted scrolls dating from around the 10th and 11th centuries. The originals are deposited at the Tokyo National Museum and Kyoto National Museum, with the ones displayed here being faithful replicas.

A pagoda for worship

Also within the spacious precincts is the Butto, a pagoda built for the purpose of Buddhist worship, and the atmospheric Founder's Hall, set back among the trees.

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