Kodai-ji Temple (高台寺)

Kodai-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Kennin-ji Temple school of the Rinzai Sect located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. Its honorific mountain prefix is 'Mt. Jubu' and the temple is formally identified as 'Kodai Jushozen-ji'. The temple was established by Kita no Mandokoro (Kodaiin), the lawful wife of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, to pray for the soul of her late husband, and it was named 'Kodai-ji' after the name taken by Kita no Mandokoro when she became a Buddhist nun. Kodai-ji is a Zen temple with a principal image statue of Shaka Nyorai, but also has the characteristics of a mausoleum enshrining Hideyoshi and Kita no Mandokoro.

The interior of the mausoleum is decorated with Momoyama style (luxurious, splended and decorative style created during Momoyama Period) makie (Japanese lacquer sprinkled with gold or silver powder), and the temple has become nicknamed 'Makie Temple' for its many makie furnishings that are said to have once been owned by Kita no Mandokoro.

History

Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI passed away in 1598. His wife, Kita no Mandokoro, (who was also known as Nene and later took the name 'Kodaiin Kogetsuni' after becoming a Buddhist nun) vowed to establish a temple to pray to Buddha for the happiness of her late husband, and originally attempted to use Kotoku-ji Temple (used to be in Teramachi, Kyoto), in which her mother Asahi no Tsubone was buried, for this purpose but it was too small so she established a new temple on Kodai-ji Temple's current site in Higashiyama. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu TOKUGAWA took power but treated Kita no Mandokoro well and charged the samurai under his command with constructing Kodai-ji Temple. One of these builders, Naomasa HORI who was in charge of construction, put in such great effort that a wooden statue of him is enshrined in the Kaisan-do hall (Founder's hall).

The Buddha statue hall at Kodai-ji Temple at the time of its founding had been remodeled and relocated from the previously mentioned Kotoku-ji Temple, and other structures including the hojo (Abbot's quarters) and teahouse were relocated from Fushimi-jo Castle. The Kesho Goten Palace (the dressing palace) of Fushimi-jo Castle was also moved to the temple where it served as the residence of Kita no Mandokoro. A minor affiliated temple Entoku-in stands to the west of Koda-ji Temple as the remains of the Kesho Goten Palace, where Kita no Mandokoro resided from 1605 until her death 1624. Kodai-ji Temple was founded in 1606 and was originally devoted to the Soto Sect.

In 1624, Kodai-ji Temple invited Rinzai Sect Kennin-ji Temple priest Sanko Joeki to serve as a reviving founder. It was at this time that Kodai-ji Temple converted from the Soto Sect to the Rinzai Sect. It is said that this conversion took place as a result of the close relationship that Kita no Mandokoro's elder brother, Iesada KINOSHITA, had to both Kennin-ji Temple and Sanko Joeki, and Sanko Joeki leading Iesada's 7th son to enter the priesthood. Kita no Mandokoro passed away the same September.

In the latter part of the Edo period, Kodai-ji Temple temporarily served as the base of the Goryo Eji (Kodaiji-to Party, a splinter group of the Shinsengumi).

Following this, the temple experienced numerous fires from the end of the modern era to the present day, which resulted in the destruction of the Buddha statue hall and the hojo. Structures remaining from the time of the temple's founding include the Kaisan-do hall enshrining a statue of Sanko Joeki, the mausoleum in which Hideyoshi and Kita no Mandokoro rest, and the teahouses named 'Kasa-tei' and 'Shigure-tei'.

Temple Precincts

The original Buddha statue hall was not rebuilt after being destroyed by fire and the hojo became the center of the temple. Neither the kuri (administration and food preparation building) to the west of the hojo nor the study to its north date from the time of the temple's founding. In the east of the temple precincts is a garden containing the Engetsu-ike Pond and Garyu-ike Pond, and in which the Kaisan-do hall, mausoleum and teahouses stand. The Kuro-mon gate stands slightly distant from the temple precincts.

Kuri: Located at the entrance to the visitor's route. The interior is not ordinarily open to the public. A particularly impressive screen on which the character for 'Dream' is written can be seen from the entrance hall.

Hojo: Stands to the right of the kuri. Reconstructed in 1912. The original hojo was relocated to the temple from Fushimi-jo Castle after the Japanese invasions of Korea.

Chokushi-mon gate (an imperial messenger gate): Stands at the south face of the hojo. Reconstructed in 1912 along with the hojo.

Study: Stands behind the hojo.

Moon-viewing Pavilion (Important Cultural Property): A small building in the middle of the roofed corridor linking the study and the Kaisan-do hall. It is said that Kita no Mandokoro would sit here and gaze at the moon as she remembered the departed Hideyoshi.

Kaisan-do Hall (Important Cultural Property): A Zen style Buddhist statue hall with the Irimoya-styled roof (hip-and-gable roof) that stands to the east of the study. Constructed in 1605. The building was originally the private Buddhist statue hall of Kita no Mandokoro before being used to enshrine a wooden statue of reviving founder Sanko Joeki. In the center stands the statue of Sanko Joeki, on the right are statues of Kita no Mandokoro's elder brother Iesada KINOSHITA and his wife Unshoin, and on the left is a statue of Naomasa HORI who put great effort into the temple's construction. The ceiling is said to have been created from the ceilings of Hideyoshi's gaozafune, a boat for a person of elevated status, and Kita no Mandokoro's ox-drawn coach.

Garyoro (Reclining Dragon Corridor): This roofed staircase linking the Kaizan-do hall and mausoleum was given its name due to its resemblance to a dragon's back.

Mausoleum (Important Cultural Property): This square hall, topped by hogyo-zukuri hiwadabuki, a pyramidal roof covered with Japanese cypress bark shingles, stands on a slightly elevated plot to the west of the Kaisan-do hall. Constructed in 1605. Inside, the central miniature shrine (doors ordinarily kept closed) houses a statue of the bodhisattva Maha Pratisara, the miniature shrine on the right houses a seated statue of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI, and the miniature shrine on the left houses a statue of his wife, Kita no Mandokoro, kneeling on one knee. The miniature shrine doors are adorned with makie imagery such as autumn flowers, pine trees and bamboo, and the shumidan (an altar made of fine timber, generally with panelling, hame) feature makie images which include musical instruments. The miniatures shrines are also valuable as they feature the name of the artist responsible for creating the makie in inconspicuous locations.
The furnishings in the temple's possession that are said to have been owned by Kita no Mandokoro are decorated with the same makie style known as 'Kodai-ji Makie.'
The main characteristic of Kodai-ji Makie are designs such as autumn flowers applied to golden flat makie (sprinkled powder applied directly on the smooth lacquered surface in very low relief so only the thickness of the final protective lacquer coating is raised above the surface). Kita no Mandokoro is interred below her own statue.

Teahouses

Kasa-tei (Ankan-kutsu) (Important Cultural Property): Situated on a slightly elevated position in the east of the temple precinct. It is thought to have been relocated to the temple from Fushimi-jo Castle and is said to have been created by SEN no Rikyu and particularly favored by Hideyoshi (although Fushimi-jo Castle was constructed after SEN no Rikyu committed suicide). The simple square building with a pyramidal thatched roof features on the inside a bamboo ceiling that looks like the underside of Chinese umbrella - from which it gets its name 'Kasa-tei' (lit. Umbrealla Pavillion).

Shigure-tei (Important Cultural Property): Stands to the south of Kasa-tei, to which it is linked by a roofed walkway with a tiled floor. It is rare among teahouses as it has two stories, and an open-plan elevated-floor room in the south of the upper floor with no walls or fittings in the bays between pillars. As with Kasa-tei, it is thought to have been relocated to the temple from Fushimi-jo Castle and is said to have been created by SEN no Rikyu and particularly favored by Hideyoshi. Some theories even claim that it may have been the Emperor's study room at Fushimi-jo Castle.

Iho-an: This rustic style teahouse, located behind the hojo and study, was constructed in the early modern period by a master of the tea ceremony Shoeki HAIYA in memory of his wife Yoshino Dayu. The tea ceremony set is small at around the size of a 3/4-length tatami mat, and the hearth (firebox) is cut into the left inner edge of the host's mat. Also features a unique large round window known as a 'yoshinomado' that takes up almost an entire wall.

Omote-mon Gate (a front gate) (Important Cultural Property)

Garden (Special Historic Site/Special Site of Scenic Beauty): Thought to have been created by Enshu KOBORI, and famous for its weeping cherry blossom trees and Japanese clover. The beauty of the arranged stones makes this garden highly representative of the Momoyama period.

a Minor Affiliated Temple

Entoku-in Temple
The place in which Kita no Mandokoro spent her last years after the death of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and where she passed away.

Sliding partition paintings by Tohaku HASEGAWA (Important Cultural Property)

Originally located at the Sangen-in of Daitoku-ji Temple. Came into the possession of Entoku-in Temple during the expulsion of Buddhism in Japan at the beginning of the Meiji era. These unique pieces feature the Paulownia Seal mica-printed onto Chinese paper screens and are said to have all been created in a single batch while the head priest was away after Tohaku proposed the idea of painted screens to him but was refused.

Northern Garden (Special Site of Scenic Beauty)

This typical Momoyama period garden was the front garden of Kita no Mandokoro's Kesho Goten Palace that was also relocated from Fushimi-jo Castle.

Gesshin-in Temple

Constructed in 1616 by Kita no Mandokoro's younger male cousin Gensho HISABAYASHI for the protection of Buzennokami KAMEI. At the end of the Edo period, Kashitaro ITO established the Kinri Goryo Eji (a splinter group of the Shinsengumi), and he and 15 others set up a headquarters at the temple.

Others

Sho Museum: A small museum located on the second floor of a restaurant across the road that boarders the west of the temple precincts. The museum preserves and displays Kodai-ji Temple's numerous works of art including furnishings, paintings and books in addition to portraits of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Kita no Mandokoro.

Daidokoro-zaka slope: These stone steps lead from Nene no Michi path to the Kodai-ji Temple precincts, and it is said that Kita no Mandokoro would walk up and down this path to pray for the soul of her husband Hideyoshi.

Nene no michi (Path of Nene): This path, that starts in the area of Maruyama Park (Kyoto Prefecture) and continues to Chion-in Temple and Yasaka-jinja Shrine, is one of the 'Higashiyama Sando' (three approaches) along with Chie no michi path and Shinko michi path.

Cultural Properties

Important Cultural Properties
Omote-mon Gate
Mausoleum
Kaisan-do Hall
Kasa-tei Teahouse (Ankan-kutsu) and Shigure-tei Teahouse (including roofed walkway)
Moon-viewing Pavilion
Color painting on silk image of the Sixteen Arhats
Color painting on silk portrait of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (designation includes a color painting on silk image of Kodaiin, a color painting on silk image of Hideaki KOBAYAKAWA, and letters written by Kodaiin)
32 makie furnishings
An 'uchikake' outer garment featuring hexagonal and diamond patterns created in embroidery and pressed gold leaf.
A woven 'haori' formal coat with animal featuring designs
A letter written by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (dated the 13th day of the 4th month)
A letter written by Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI (dated the 9th day of the 8th month)
A temple bell inscribed with the date equivalent to 1606

Nearby Attractions

Ryozen Kannon
Hokan-ji Temple (Yasaka Pagoda)