Museums & Sights


Like so much of Kyoto, Zen temple Daitoku-ji was destroyed in the Onin War (1467-77). The monk who rebuilt it was Ikkyu Sojun, a keen practitioner of tea and calligraphy. Under his guidance, the reborn temple became a centre of the arts. The temple gave great tea master Sen no Rikyu his Zen education, but also lead to his death. The ruling Hideyoshi Toyotomi was incensed to discover that Rikyu had placed a statue of himself in the grand Sanmon gate. Since Toyotomi regularly walked through the gate, he considered the statue to be an insult to his authority and ordered Rikyu to commit ritual suicide. The temple is still renowned for its artworks, gardens and connections to tea culture. Of the 24 sub-temples in this vast complex, four are open to the public. Koto-in, Ryogen-in and Daisen-in are the ones not to miss. There is also a shojin ryori restaurant, Izusen (075 491 6665; open 11am-4pm Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun) near the Zuihoin sub-temple.

Kyoto Shortlist

Review updated October 2009


53 Daitokuji-cho, Murasakino, Kita-ku, Kyoto

Transport Kitaoji station (Karasuma line).

Telephone 075 491 0019

Open Varies by season.

Admission Admission Main temple free. Koto-in ¥400. Daisen-in ¥400. Ryogen-in ¥400.

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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