An ancient temple enveloped by a magnificent forest, Kozanji is a historic site located to the northwest of Kyoto. Believed to have been established in the 8th century, the temple underwent restoration in the 12th century under the supervision of the high priest Myoe. Today, it is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site, attracting visitors from all over the world.
One of the best times to visit Kozanji is during the fall season when the surrounding forest is ablaze with vibrant autumn colors. The temple offers a breathtaking view of the Kiyotaki River Valley from its balcony, providing a serene and picturesque experience for nature lovers.
To reach Kozanji, there are several transportation options available. Visitors can take the JR Bus Takao/Keihoku Route to Toganoo from Kyoto Station, or they can opt for the #8 bus from Shijo Station and get off at Toganoo bus stop. Both routes provide convenient access to the temple, allowing visitors to easily explore its rich history and natural beauty.
One of the most significant structures within Kozanji is the Sekisui-in, which was once the residence of a member of the imperial family. This architectural marvel is now designated as a National Treasure and serves as a testament to the Kamakura period. It is one of the few remaining examples of this architectural style, making it a must-see for history enthusiasts.
Another highlight of Kozanji is the Choju-Jinbutsu-giga, a collection of four painted scrolls dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. These scrolls are considered to be the first manga in japan and are revered for their artistic and historical significance. While the original scrolls are housed in the Tokyo National Museum and Kyoto National Museum, faithful replicas are on display at Kozanji, allowing visitors to appreciate their beauty and cultural importance.
Within the temple grounds, visitors will also find the Butto, a pagoda built for Buddhist worship, and the Founder’s Hall, a tranquil and atmospheric structure nestled among the trees. These architectural gems add to the overall charm and spiritual ambiance of Kozanji, providing a serene environment for contemplation and reflection.
Aside from its architectural and historical treasures, Kozanji is also home to the oldest tea fields in Japan. These tea fields are believed to have been first planted by Myoe, further adding to the temple’s cultural and agricultural significance. Visitors can immerse themselves in the tea-growing tradition by learning about the cultivation process and even participating in a tea ceremony.
In conclusion, Kozanji is a treasure trove of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its ancient temple buildings to its stunning forest surroundings, every corner of this site exudes a sense of tranquility and timelessness. Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city, Kozanji offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience. Plan your visit today and discover the wonders of this ancient temple enveloped by a magnificent forest.
Address And Maps Location:
8 Umegahata Toganoo-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu