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Daitoku-ji Kōtō-in
大徳寺 高桐院

Kōtō-in is among the larger sub-temples of Daitoku-ji. After passing through the entrance gate to the temple precincts, the approach to the temple buildings leads through an alley of bamboo and maple trees. Kōtō-in is perhaps also the most-famous of all the sub-temples in Daitoku-ji. The main garden of Kōtō-in is a moss garden with a stone lamp placed against a number of maple trees. Unlike most other sub-temples, however, Kōtō-in’s precincts do not end there. It is possible to walk through the garden, alongside two tea houses and a number of graves.
Kōtō-in is a famous destination for maple foliage, so I would recommend to visit early in the morning to avoid crowds, especially if you aim for a shot of the approach. Other than that, early summer and snowy mornings might be nice to visit, but unfortunately, when I came to the temple on one of Kyōto’s rare snow days in January 2016, it was closed for a religious ceremony. On a side note: Kōtō-in’s founder, a former warrior turned monk, devoted the final years of his life to Zen Buddhism and tea, being also a disciple of the legendary Sen no Rikyū 千利休.
After lengthy renovations from 2017–19, the temple had re-opened, only to be closed again since April 2020. As of to date, it is unclear when (and if) Kōtō-in will re-open to the public.

Admission: closed since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic!
Nearby places of interest: other sub-temples of Daitoku-ji, Imamiya Shrine.

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

The approach to Kōtō-in.

Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬
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