Hokan-ji Temple (Yasaka-no-to,location,history)

Hokan-ji Temple, Yasaka-no-to

The information about Hokan-ji Temple is presented here. Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) of Hokan-ji Temple is also called Yasaka-no-to and has become a symbol and landmark of Higashiyama Yasaka. Gojyu-no-to is about 49 meters high, making it the third tallest Gojyu-no-to in Japan after the Gojyu-no-to of To-ji Temple in Kyoto and the Gojyu-no-to of Kofuku-ji Temple in Nara. Gojyu-no-to is the only gojyu-no-to in Japan that is designated as an important cultural property where the general public can climb up to the 2nd floor.

【Hokan-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 388 Kiyomizu Yasaka kami-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Higashiyama Yasui bus stop (about 5 minutes on foot), Kiyomizu-michi bus stop (about 5 minutes on foot), Keihan Kiyomizu Gojo Station (about 10 minutes on foot), Keihan Gion Shijo Station (about 10 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 6:00-16:00
Closed: non-scheduled holiday

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Junior High School Students and Older 500 yen

【Hokan-ji Temple History】

The area where Hokan-ji Temple (法観寺) is located is said to have been inhabited by the Yasaka-no-miyatsuko clan, a foreign clan. According to legend, Hokan-ji Temple was founded in 592 by Prince Shotoku-taishi, the second prince of the 31st Emperor Yomei, who built Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) and enshrined three grains of the remains of Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, at the behest of Nyoirin Kannon. Excavations at Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) have revealed that the foundation stone in the center of the pagoda is still in use from the time when Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was first built. The groove in the foundation stone is said to be the place where Prince Shotoku-taishi placed three grains of Buddha’s remains, and Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) is said to be the origin of the worship of Buddha’s remains in Japan. It is said that Hokan-ji Temple was founded as a family temple for the Yasaka clan, a foreign clan, before the 50th Emperor Kanmu moved the capital to Heiankyo in 794. According to kawara (tiles) excavated from the temple grounds, Hokan-ji Temple was built as early as the 7th century. There is also a theory that Ono-no-Takamura founded Hokan-ji Temple during the Heian period (794-1185). Hokan-ji Temple was originally called Yasaka-dera Temple, and was first mentioned in the “Shoku-Nihon-Koki” in 837. In the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), according to the “Engishiki Jinmyocho” compiled in 927, Hokan-ji Temple was counted as one of the seven temples that received the Urabon offering fee from the Daizenshiki. In 1179, Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was destroyed by fire in a dispute between Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka Shrine, and was rebuilt in 1191 with the help of Minamoto no Yoritomo, the 1st shogun of the Kamakura shogunate. In 1240, Hokan-ji Temple was revived by the 8th head of Kennin-ji Temple, Saio Shoku, and was converted from a Shingon sect temple to a Zen temple of the Kenninji school of the Rinzai sect. In 1291, Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was destroyed by lightning, and was rebuilt in 1309 with the help of the 91st Emperor Gouda. In 1338, when Ashikaga Takauji, the 1st Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, built Ankoku-ji Temple and Risho-to (pagoda) throughout Japan on the recommendation of Muso-kokushi (Muso Soseki), Hokan-ji Temple dedicated the Buddhist remains as Risho-to (pagoda) in Kyoto. In 1436, Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was destroyed by fire, and Ashikaga Yoshinori, the 6th Muromachi shogun, rebuilt the present Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) in 1440. Hokan-ji Temple was burned down during the Onin War (1467-1467) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), but it is said that only Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) survived. It is said that during the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1603), Oshima Mitsuyoshi shot 10 arrows into the windows of Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) on the orders of Toyotomi Hidetsugu. It is said that in the early Edo period (1603-1868), Itakura Katsushige, the chief magistrate of Kyoto, repaired Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) and donated rice. It is also said that Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was repaired in 1663 and 1799. In 1997, excavations were conducted in the area of Hokan-ji Temple, and pottery and fired clay from the Kofun period (mid 3rd century-late 7th century) were found. In 2009, excavations were conducted for disaster prevention, and the remains of a senbutsu from the Hakuho period (645-710) and a drainage ditch from the Heian period (794-1185) were confirmed.
*reference・・・Hokan-ji Temple website

【Hokan-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda, 五重塔, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1440 by Ashikaga Yoshinori, the 6th Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate. Gojyu-no-to has been destroyed by fire three times in the past, and is now in its 4th generation. Gojyu-no-to houses the statue of Gochi Nyorai on the first floor, with Dainichi Nyorai (the main deity) in the center.
★Taishido (太子堂) is said to have been rebuilt by the residents of the gate during the Edo period (1603-1868). Taishido houses the statue of Prince Shotoku-taishi at the ages of 3 and 16. Taishido also enshrines Minamoto no Yoritomo, Hojo Sadatoki, Ashikaga Takauji, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, and others.
★Yakushido (薬師堂) was built during the Edo period (1603-1868). Yakushido houses the statues of Yakushi Nyorai, Nikko Bosatsu, Gakko Bosatsu, Yumemi Jizo Bosatsu and Juni-shinsho.
法観寺・八坂の塔見どころ (Hokan-ji Temple Highlights)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-551-2417

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Hokan-ji Temple is via Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka have many stone pavements and stone steps, and offer an atmospheric view of Kyoto. From Hokan-ji Temple, it is also recommended to walk to Yasaka Shrine via Kodai-ji Temple. Yasaka Shrine, like Kiyomizu-dera Temple, is popular with both domestic and foreign tourists.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Hokan-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山