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A short stroll from Kiyomizu-dera through the preserved historical district of Higashiyama, Kōdai-ji is a Rinzai branch Zen temple in the tradition of (nearby) Kennin-ji. Entering the temple, the visitor first can enjoy a view of the city with the iconic Gionkaku tower (祇園閣) which is especially beautiful during spring nightfall. From there, the Hōjō building and its karesansui-style rock garden invite for a break. The weeping cherry there is among the early ones to bloom in Kyoto, and the layout of the garden is changed every few years, making repeated visits especially worthwhile. From there, a wet landscape garden surrounds the founder’s hall, and stairs lead up to an area containing two tea houses, before a path through a bamboo forest brings you back to the entrance area. In spring, summer and autumn, Kōdai-ji is opening for an evening illumination. Unlike most other temples, however, the admission for daytime and nighttime visit is the same, allowing for a stay during the sunset, the perhaps best time of the day.

Admission: open year-round, nighttime visits in spring/summer/autumn
Nearby places of interest: Entoku-in (sub-temple of Kōdai-ji, combination ticket recommended), Yasaka Pagoda (Hōkan-ji), Maruyama Park.

The wheeping cherry at Kōdai-ji.

The wheeping cherry at Kōdai-ji.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬