Kozan-ji Temple (Kosan-ji Temple,location,history)

Kozan-ji Temple, Kosan-ji Temple

The information about Kozan-ji Temple is presented here. Kozan-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Kozan-ji Temple is famous for the “Choju Jinbutsu Giga (The Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans)”, which is said to be the root of manga culture, but it is also famous as the place where tea was first planted in Japan. Minnan Eisai, the founder of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, brought back tea seeds from Nan-So (China) and gave them to Myoe, who planted them in the grounds of Kozan-ji Temple. It is also said that Myoe sowed tea seeds in Uji and tea spread in Uji.

【Kozan-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 8 Umegahata Toganoo-cho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Toganoo bus stop (about 3 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Sekisuiin 600 yen (500 yen for admission during the fall foliage season.)

【Kozan-ji Temple History】

The site of Kozan-ji Temple (Kosan-ji Temple, 高山寺) is built is said to have been a place for mountain ascetic practices since ancient times, and small temple is said to have been built there. It is also said that there was temple called “Toganooji” and “Toganoobo. Kozan-ji Temple was founded in 774 at the request of the 49th Emperor Konin, and was originally called “Jinganji Toganoobo”. In 814, Jinganji Toganoobo changed its name to “Toganoo Jumujinin”. In 1181,Myoe entered Jingo-ji Temple at the age of nine. In the late Heian period (794-1185), Toganoo Jumujinin became a branch temple of Jingo-ji Temple and was called “Jingoji Jumujinin”. In 1206, Myoe, a monk of the Kegon sect was granted Jingoji Jumujinin by the inzei (order) of the 82nd Emperor Go-Toba, and revived Kozan-ji Temple as the Konpon Dojo (fundamental center) of the Kegon sect of Buddhism. The temple name “Kosanji (高山)” is derived from the imperial inscription “Hiidete Mazuterasu Kozannotera (日出先照高山之寺)” given by the Emperor Go-Toba. It is said that the phrase “Hiidete Mazuterasu Kozannotera” is found in the Kegonkyo (Kegon Sutra), which means “The first place to be illuminated when the sun rises is the top of a high mountain,” and that it is meant to express the wish that Kozan-ji Temple will be a shining temple. In 1216, Sekisuiin was built. In 1218, Myoe moved to Kamo-no-Bessho with the main statue of Shaka Nyorai, by the Buddhist sculptor Kaikei, but later moved back to Kozan-ji Temple. In 1228, Sekisuiin was moved to Zendoin due to a water accident. In 1232, Myoe wrote the Kosanji Okibumi, after which he died at Zendoin. In the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), the Onin War (1467-1477) occurred, and the sei-gun (western army) led by Yamana Sozen occupied Kozan-ji Temple. In 1547, much of the temple complex, including Kondo, was destroyed by military fire. In 1634, Shuyu, Eiben and others moved the old temple building from Ninna-ji Temple to Kozan-ji Temple and rebuilt Kondo. In 1636, Shuyu and Eiben rebuilt Kaizando. During the Keian period (1648-1652), Eiben revived Jumujinin, sub-temple of Kozan-ji Temple. In 1717, Gobyo, Kaizando, Zendoin, and Hoshoin, which is sub-temple of Kozan-ji Temple were destroyed by fire. In 1723, Zendoin was destroyed by fire, and Kaizando and Gobyo were rebuilt. In 1868, Kozan-ji Temple became the head temple of the Kegon sect, where the Shingon sect was also practiced there. In 1872, Kozan-ji Temple belonged to the Omuro School (Ninna-ji Temple) of the Shingon sect. In 1966, Kozan-ji Temple became independent from the Omuro School (Ninna-ji Temple) of the Shingon sect and became an independent temple of the Shingon sect.
*reference・・・Kozan-ji Temple website

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

★Sekisuiin (石水院, National Treasure) was built in 1216 as Higashi-Kyozo, and later inherited the name “Sekisuiin” after that. It is also said that Sekisuiin was given Gakumonsho (school, Kamo no Betsuin) by the 82nd Emperor Go-Toba, and is also said to be the site of Myoe’s residence. Sekisuiin is said to be the only remaining structure from Myoe’s era. Sekisuiin houses the statue of Zenzai-doji in the center of the wooden floor.
★Choju Jinbutsu Giga (The Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans, 紙本墨画鳥獣人物戯画, National Treasure) is an ink scroll consisting of four volumes: Ko-kan, Otsu-kan, Hei-kan and Tei-kan. Ko-kan and Otsu-kan have been deposited in the Tokyo National Museum, and Hei-kan and Tei-kan have been deposited in the Kyoto National Museum, and the ones you can see are copies. It is said that Ko-kan and Otsu-kan were made in the late Heian period (late 12th century), Hei-kan in the Kamakura period (12th to 13th century), and Tei-kan in the Kamakura period (13th century). Choju Jinbutsu Giga has no words, but consists only of images of anthropomorphic animals such as rabbits, frogs, monkeys, and deer.
★Kondo (金堂) is said to have been rebuilt in 1634 by Shuyu, Eiben and others by moving the old temple building from Ninna-ji Temple’s Inge, Shinko-in Temple. It is also said that Kondo was rebuilt in 1634 by Tokugawa Iemitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Edo shogunate, by moving it from Ninna-ji Temple at the request of Kakushin Hoshinno. Kondo houses the statue of Shaka Nyorai, said to have been created in the Muromachi period (1336-1573).
高山寺見どころ (Kozan-ji Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Myoe Shonin Meinichi-hoyo (明恵上人命日忌法要) is held every year on January 19th. Myoe Shonin Meinichi-hoyo is a memorial service to commemorate Myoe on the day of his death. In Myoe Shonin Meinichi-hoyo, the memorial service is first held at Kaizando, and then the memorial service is also held at the cemetery above Kaizando. Visitors may also burn incense. (Confirmation required).

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is around mid-November. Maple trees and other trees are distributed and the scenery of autumn leaves, Omotesando, Kaizando and Kondo is beautiful. The contrast between the autumn leaves and the green of the Kitayama-sugi (cedar) seen from the veranda of Sekisuiin is also a highlight.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-75-861-4204

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Kozan-ji Temple is via Saimyo-ji Temple to Jingo-ji Temple. Jingo-ji Temple has Taishido (Important Cultural Property) and other buildings, which are recommended for viewing. Kozan-ji Temple, Saimyo-ji Temple, and Jingo-ji Temple are all popular fall foliage spots in Kyoto, so it is recommended to take the time to enjoy them during the fall foliage season.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Kozan-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