Tofukuji-temple, Kyoto (東福寺、京都)

Tofukuji temple is one of ‘the five most important Zen temples of Kyoto’.

It is the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Tofukuji school, founded in 1243, built by an aristocratic family as their family temple.

I would like to show some photos from my visit there late October 2018, with some explanations.


1. Sanmon gate


This is the ‘Sanmon-gate’, rebuilt in 1405.

‘Sanmon’ literally means ‘three gates’, gates to enlightenment.



2. Beautiful autumn leaves 

When I visited this temple, the colors of leaves just started to turn red.

A view from the Tsutenkyo-bridge(1)


A view from the Tsutenkyo-bridge(2)


Tsutenkyo-bridge seen from the northern garden




3. The founder’s hall and the Fumon-in garden

The founder’s hall and the Fumonin-garden

This is the founder’s hall and the Fumonin-garden (above picture).

The inside of the founder’s hall houses the statue of the founder, priest Shoichi-Kokushi(the statue is not open to public).

The landscape garden in front of the founder’s hall has a miniature mountain with a dry-rock waterfall.



4. ‘Hasso gardens’ surround the abbot’s hall

Tofukuji temple is also well known for its unique ‘Hasso gardens’, surrounding the abbot’s hall.

They were designed by a renowned landscape sculptor Mirei Shigemori in 1939.

The Hasso gardens comprise of the northern garden, the eastern garden, the northern garden and the southern garden.

It is said that visitors can see the fusion of traditional Zen style and modern abstractionism in these gardens.

The picture below is the part of the northern garden with the checkered pattern.

Northern garden