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Kozanji temple

Kozanji templeKozanji is a temple of Shingon Buddhism.
It is in the mountain located about 15 km northwest of central Kyoto, and is located about 1.2 km northeast of Jingoji temple.
This temple is one of 17 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" designated as a World Heritage Site.

It is said that this temple was founded in 774, but it is less certain.
It seems that the temple was a branch one of Jingoji during the 9-12th centuries.

In 1206, priest Myoue was given this temple by Emperor Go-Toba, then it is regarded as the substantive foundation of this temple.
Since the Middle Ages, the temple had been sometimes destroyed by fire or civil war.
So the original building in this temple is only Sekisui-in temple built in 1274 which is designated as a national treasure.
Some other buildings such as Kondo hall, Kaizando temple were rebuilt in the early 17th century.

By the Sekisui-in, there is Japan's oldest tea garden.
In the late 12th century, priest Eisai (1141-1215), the founder of Rinzai Zen Buddhism, brought back the seeds of tea from Sung (current China).
Myoue was presented the seeds by him, and sowed them in Toganoo district around this temple.
In the Middle Ages, Toganoo had been a major production area of tea.

Additionally, Kozanji is known for housing many various paintings and books.
Most of them has been deposited in Tokyo National Museum and Kyoto National Museum.
The most popular article is "Choju-jinbutsu-giga", and it is the humorous pictures of personified animals such as frogs, rabbits, monkeys.
They were created in the 12-13th centuries, and it is considered the origin of Japanese manga and anime.
We can see the replica in this temple. (The real pictures are in the above museums.)

Toganoo district around this temple is famous for the beautiful colored leaves along with nearby Takao district.
So the admission fee to this temple is 400 yen only during the beautiful season.
And the admission fee to Sekisui-in is always 600 yen.

How to get to here

By route bus (JR bus)

By route bus to Shuzan, about 52 minutes from Kyoto station to Toganoo stop.




Kaizando
Kondo
Gate to Sekisui-in
Sekisui-in
A room in Sekisui-in
Choju-jinbutsu-giga in Kozanji

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