Kodaiji Temple 高台寺
Gorgeous tribute to a cunning warlord
Wander up to the hills in Gion to discover Kodaiji Temple, built by the bereaved wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in honor of her husband.
Tokugawa Ieyasu, Toyotomi Hideyoshi's successor, assisted in the construction of the temple, and Hideyoshi's bereaved wife hired the most revered architects, painters, and garden designers of the day.
Special nighttime illuminations run in the spring, summer, and autumn
The two rustic teahouses here were all designed by Sen no Rikyu, hailed as the father of the tea ceremony
Hideyoshi's jinbaori, a coat worn over armor, is woven with gold and silver thread and made from a tapestry he received from a Portuguese delegation
How to Get There
Kodaiji Temple is easily accessible from Kyoto Station by bus.
From Kyoto Station , take bus #206 to the Higashiyama Yasui stop. Kodaiji Temple is a 7-minute walk from here. Bus #207, which travels along Shijo Street, also stops at Higashiyama Yasui.
A temple abundant in beauty and historical significance
Kodaiji is a Zen Buddhist temple founded in 1605. Hideyoshi's bereaved wife Kita no Mandokoro, better known by her nickname, Nene, built it in memory of her deceased husband, the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Hideyoshi was a crucial figure in the unification of Japan, which had been torn apart by conflict for some 150 years. Nene is also buried in Hideyoshi's mausoleum, the Otamaya, and you can find his portrait side-by-side Nene's there.
The temple gardens are exquisite, with ponds skirted by maples and undercover walkways designed to evoke the curving of a dragon's back, a bamboo grove, and dry landscape gardens that symbolize the vastness of the ocean.
There are many opportunities to experience Kodaiji in the evening including on special occasions when the temple is open for evening worship and during events like tea gatherings. One such event is during the Obon holidays when people's ancestors return home. The temple displays eerie scroll paintings from the temple collection which depict the belief that inanimate objects also have souls and that poorly treated objects roam the streets at night during the Obon period.
Throughout the year at the mausoleum where Hideyoshi and his wife are laid to rest, you can view masterful examples of maki-e, a technique for decorating lacquerware with carefully sprinkled gold powder.
Set aside an hour or two to leisurely view the interior, artworks, and gardens of Kodaiji Temple.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.