Some say the best time to visit Tofukuji Temple is during the autumn season because of its beautiful garden turning all red and fiery with autumn colors.
400yen for adults
300yen for middle-primary school students
Hours: 9am - 4pm
Tofuku-ji Temple Complex
The TSUTEN-KYO BRIDGE and the Garden of the ABBOT'S HALL are some of my favorite places in Kyoto. These 2 destinations are only part of the large complex of buildings, including the San-mon Main Gate (oldest in Japan).
Do not miss the nearby REIUN-IN Tea Garden - a maze of sliding shoji screen doors and a rock garden.
Perfect, relaxing place to go on the first day in Kyoto after travel. If you are ambitous, the Fushimi-Inari Hike (? page 148) looks great (but hard to do in reverse from reading the guide book directions).
The Tofuku-ji was founded in 1236 by the priest Enni. It belongs to the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. The present complex exists of 24 subtemples. It is known for its gardens. But the lavatory and bathroom dating from the 14th century are also worth looking at.
Tofukuji Temple is one of the Five Great Zen Temples in Kyoto. It has many subtemples, but the main part of the temple is around the famous Tsutenkyo Bridge, which is one of the most scenic places to visit in the fall to see the autumn foliage.
Even here there are a few buildings. The Sanmon Gate was built in the Muromachi Period. There is a treasure hall (which you can enter for a fee) containing temple treasures, like sculptures and famous paintings.
The Kaisando Hall has a beautiful yet strange garden consisting of a landscape garden to the right of the central walkway and a Zen rock garden to the left.
The Hojo also features varied gardens, but here they surround the building. There is a zen rock garden, as well as an interesting moss garden formed in a checkered pattern
Like most large Zen temples, there are separate fees for different parts, so it can be a little more expensive. To walk across the Tsutenkyo Bridge and visit the Kaisando Hall, is costs 400 yen, and the Hojo is also 400 yen.
Although it is a large complex of Zen temples, it is usually a very quiet place free from too many tourist. I like it.