To-ji Temple (東寺)

To-ji, located in Kujo-cho, Minami Ward, Kyoto, is the head temple of the To-ji Shingon Sect that has connections to Kobo Daishi Kukai. It is also called by the name of the mountain, Yahatasan, and venerates Yakushi Nyorai.

To-ji Temple was granted to Kobo Daishi Kukai and flourished as the central training center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism. As belief in Kobo Daishi grew from the middle ages onward, To-ji, or "Daishi's temple," gained a following among the common people, and even in the 21st century remains one of Kyoto's most famous landmarks. In December 1994, it was registered as a World Heritage Site, as part of the {Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto}.

The Name

To-ji officially has two names, "Konkoumyo Shitenno Kyoogokoku-ji Himitsudenpoin" and "Miroku Yahatasan Soji Fukenin," in addition to "To-ji, Temple of the Daishi" Kyoogokoku-ji Temple. As a religious organization its registered name is "Kyoogokoku-ji", with the detailed description being Konkoumyo Shitenno Kyoogokoku-ji Himitsudenpoin.

This temple has two names, To-ji and Kyoogokoku-ji, and is listed by one or the other in encyclopedias. For example, Heibonsha's World Encyclopedia and Shokakukan's Encyclopedia of Japan list it under "To-ji", while Encyclopædia Britannica lists it under "Kyoogokoku-ji". "Kyoo" refers to the edification of the king, and the name "Kyoogokoku-ji" has connotations of an esoteric temple that is the guardian of the nation. The official name of the religious organization is Kyoogokoku-ji, therefore, for example, the name listed in the register of national treasures for the Goju-no-to (5-story pagoda) is Kyoogokoku-ji Goju-no-to. From this perspective, Kyoogokoku-ji can be called the official name of the modern religious corporation. However, the name To-ji is not simply a nickname because it is a historical name that has been in use since the temple was founded. The stone pillars in front of Nandaimon gate still say "To-ji, Head Temple of the Shingon Sect"; the lanterns hung on Nandaimon, Kitadaimon, and Keigamon gates say To-ji on them; the hall of treasures is called To-ji Houmotsukan Museum, and there are other examples of the temple itself using the name To-ji most of the time.

From the Heian period into the middle ages, official documents and records as a rule used "To-ji" to signify this temple, as that was the official name, and "Kyoogokoku-ji" was not used except for special circumstances; this fact is noted in the To-ji article in Heibonsha's World Encyclopedia, for example. In the "Open Up, To-ji!" special edition no. 547 of Geijutsu Shincho (July 1995), a question and answer section notes that "the name Kyoogokoku-ji has hardly been used for 1200 years, it has always been called To-ji." The name Kyoogokoku-ji is not found at all in Heian period records, and the first use of this name in official documents was in 1240, according to Tamotsu UEJIMA's History of To-ji: On the Perception of Kyoogokoku-ji (To-ji National Treasure Exhibition Special Illustrated Edition, Asahi Shimbun, 1995). Even in the most important historical documents related to the temple's history, such as the National Treasure "To-ji Koryujojokotogaki" (1308) and "Shoen Shikichi Senyujo" written by Emperor Gouda, and the licence by which Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI granted a fief of 2,030 koku in 1591, clearly refer to the temple as To-ji.

"To-ji" is used for the remainder of this article.

History

At the end of the 8th century, there were To-ji (east temple) to the east and Sai-ji (west temple) to the west of Rajomon gate in front of Heiankyo; Sai-ji declined in its ealy days, and in its place there now stands Sai-ji Ato no Hi monument in Karahashi Sai-ji Park near Karahashi in Kyoto's Minami Ward; there is a small temple in the area that has inherited only the name of Sai-ji. The grounds of the park and an elementary school where the temple once stood have been designated as a national historic landmark. The construction of those two temples was planned. These two temples were official government temples meant to protect the castles of Heiankyo's Sakyo and Ukyo, and also to protect the eastern and western parts of the country.

According to Tohoki, a historical record of To-ji from the Nanbokucho period, a person named Isendo FUJIWARA became the commissioner of temple construction and built To-ji in 796, shortly after the transition to Heiankyo. Because there are no public or genealogical records about Isendo FUJIWARA there is a tendency to question his historical existence; nevertheless To-ji has long considered 796 to be the year of its founding. 20-odd years later, in 823, Emperor Saga gave To-ji to Kobo Daishi Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect. Since then To-ji has been both a guardian temple of the nation and the central training center of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism.

Although To-ji undewent a brief decline in the latter half of the Heian period, as belief in Kobo Daishi increased during the Kamakura Period it garnered believers from the imperial family and commoners alike as "Daishi's temple." The one who especially revered Kukai was the daughter of Emperor Goshirakawa, Senyomonin (1181-1252). Following a revelation in her dream, Senyomonin donated her vast manor to To-ji. Senyomonin is also the one who started such rituals as Shojinku (serving food to Kukai every morning as if he were alive today) and Mieku (a memorial service for Kukai held on the 21st of every month). The Shojinku ritual of serving breakfast to Kukai (Kobo Daishi) as if he were alive is, even today in the 21st century, carried out every morning at 6 o'clock in To-ji's Saiin Miedo, and is attended by pious men and women. There is also an antique market held on the To-ji temple grounds every month on the 21st, affectionately called "Kobo market" or "Kobo-san."

Since the middle ages To-ji has flourished with the support of nobles and statesmen such as Emperors Gouda and Godaigo, and Takauji ASHIKAGA. Though most of the main buildings were lost in a fire in 1486, the Kondo, the 5-story pagoda and others were rebuilt with the support of the Toyotomi and Tokugawa families. Even though no original buildings have survived the many fires since the temple was founded, the layout of the monastery from south to north-Nandaimon gate, Kondo, Lecture Hall, Dining Hall, in a straight line – and the scale of all of the buildings are just as they were in the Heian period.

Garan

Kondo (National Treasure)
Kondo is To-ji's central building, the construction of which started before the other buildings, and is thought to have been completed before To-ji was granted to Kukai in 823. The original building was burned in the Tsuchi Ikki revolt of 1486 and was not rebuilt for nearly a century. The present building was rebuilt with contributions from Hideyori TOYOTOMI in 1603, and Katsumoto KATAGIRI oversaw it as the administrator. With its Irimoya style tile roof it appears to be 2 stories tall, but that is due to an extra layer of eaves. The construction is a blend of Wayo (Japanese) and Daibutsuyo (Tenjikuyo) styles; the Daibutsuyo style is especially notable in the many beams and joints that support the high ceiling. Yakushi Nyorai and two flanking attendants, Nikko Bosatsu and Gakko Bosatsu, are installed as the objects of worship in the wide open space inside.

Wooden Statues of Yakushi Nyorai and Flanking Attendants (Important Cultural Property) – Installed in Kondo
The statue in the middle is 2.88m tall, reaching a grand 10m when the pedestal and halo are included; there are images of Shichibutsu Yakushi on the halo. Statues of the 12 Heavenly Generals (Junishinsho) who accompany Yakushi Nyorai are placed beneath the skirt of the pedestal. Made by Busshi Kosho (statue maker), this is an excellent work from the Momoyama period, a time when Buddhist statue making was in decline in Japan. It has some revivalist elements, such as the fact that Yakushi Nyorai does not hold the medicine bottle in his left hand, and sits in the Goumaza style with the left foot on top, and that the pedestal is the old skirt-type.

Lecture Hall (Important Cultural Property)
Behind the Kondo (to the north)
Not yet built in 823 when To-ji was given to Kukai, work was started by him in 825, and completed around 835. The original hall was burned in the Tsuchi Ikki revolt of 1486, and the current Lecture Hall was rebuilt in the Muromachi period in 1491. It is pure Wayo style, with a single layer Irimoya-zukuri roof. In contrast to the Kondo, with its Kenkyo type Yakushi Nyorai, the Lecture Hall has Dainichi Nyorai installed as its central, esoteric object of worship. That is to say that in the middle of the altar there is a set of 5 Buddha statues (Gobutsu, Gochi Nyorai) with Dainichi Nyorai at the center; on the right (east) there is a set of 5 Bodhisattva statues (5 Great Bodhisattvas) with Kongoharamita Bosatsu at the center, and on the left (west) are 5 Myoo Statues (5 Great Myoo), with Fudo Myoo at their center. There are also statues of Bonten and Taishakuten on the east and west sides of the altar, respectively, and the Shitenno are at its 4 corners. The aforementioned 21sculptures are arranged to make a Karma Mandala (3-dimensional mandala). These are the oldest authentic esoteric Buddhist sculptures in Japan; the eye-opening ceremony for these statues was held in 839, after Kukai's death (Shoku-nihonkoki), but the overall conception was Kukai's. Of the 21 statues, the 5 Buddhas (Important Cultural Property) and 5 Bodhisattvas were added from the Muromachi to the Edo period, while the other 15 are from the time the Lecture Hall was built; the latter set of statues are good examples of esoteric Buddhist sculpture of the early Heian period that have been designated National Treasures. The meaning represented by these 21 statues has been explained as a Karma Mandala based on the Ninnogyo sutra, or as a fusion of the Ninnogyo and the Kongokaiho, but there is no agreement among the various interpretations of the true meaning intended by Kukai.

Statues of 5 Sitting Buddhas (Important Cultural Property) - Kongokai Dainichi Nyorai is at the center, with Hosho Nyorai, Amida Nyorai, Fukujoju Nyorai, and Ashuku Nyorai around him. The statue of Dainichi Nyorai was made by statue maker Kochin in 1497. The statues of Hosho Nyorai, Fukujoju Nyorai and Ashuku Nyorai were all made in the Edo period; the Amida Nyorai statue has a body that was made in the Edo period and a head that was reused from an older, Heian period statue.

Sitting Statues of the 5 Great Bodhisattvas (National Treasure) - Kongo Haramita Bosatsu is at the center, with Kongoho Bosatsu, Kongoho Bosatsu, Kongogo Bosatsu, and Kondosatta around him. The central Kongo Haramita Bosatsu was made in the Edo period and is not part of the National Treasure designation. The other 4 have had extensive repairs, but are the original statues. Combining Ichiboku-zukuri style with dry lacquer, the style and technique are reminiscent of the Nara period.

5 Great Myoo Statues (National Treasure) - Fudo Myoo is at the center, with Gosanze Myoo, Gundari Myoo, Daiitoku Myoo, and Kongoyasha Myoo. Along with the Fudo Myoo in To-ji's Miedo, it is one of the oldest examples of a Myoo statue in Japan.

Statues of Sitting Bonten and Taishakuten in Half Lotus Position (National Treasure) - This Bonten differs from Nara period statues, such as the one in Horyuji; it is an esoteric Buddhist statue with 4 faces and 4 arms, and sits on a lotus pedestal supported by 4 geese. The statue of Taishakuten wears a helmet and rides a white elephant with his left foot down. Both pedestals and Taishakuten's head are reconstructions.

Standing Statues of Shitenno (National Treasure) - Jikokuten displays an angry expression and violent movements; the other 3 are calm. Many parts of the Tamonten statue have been replaced; it differs in construction style from the other statues.

Dining Hall
Behind the Lecture Hall, toward the north end of the grounds. It is thought that the original dining hall was completed sometime after Kukai's death, around the end of the 9th or early 10th century, but was destroyed in an earthquake in 1596. Reconstruction work finally began over 2 centuries later, in 1800. This Edo period reconstruction burned down in 1930; the present-day structure was rebuilt later and was completed in 1934. The previous object of worship, a statue of a standing, 1000 Armed Kannon, was damaged in this fire; its repair work began in 1965 and the statue is now installed in the temple's Homotsukan Museum. A 21-Faced Kannon statue, made by Tsuneo MYOCHIN, is installed as the object of worship in the present-day Dining Hall.

5-Story Pagoda (National Treasure)
More than just a symbol of To-ji, it has become a symbol of Kyoto. At 54.8 meters tall, it is Japan's tallest wooden tower. Construction was started by Kukai in 826, but the tower was not completed until the end of the 9th century, after his death. Having burned 4 times due to causes ranging from lighting to suspicious circumstances, the present-day pagoda is the 5th construction built in 1644 with a donation from Iemitsu TOKUGAWA. The walls and pillars of the first story have a Ryokai Mandala and paintings of the 8 founders of Shingon drawn on them; the altar has statues of 4 Kongokai Buddhas and Eight Great Bodhisattvas around the central pillar. Since there is no statue of Dainichi Nyorai, who is central to Shingon esoteric teachings, the central pillar has been interpreted to represent Dainichi Nyorai. The style of construction is remeniscent of the early Edo period.

Mieido (National Treasure)
Previously used as a dwelling by Kukai, it is the residential-looking temple in the northwest corner of the temple precincts called "Saiin". Consisting of Front Hall (Zendo), Rear Hall (Kodo), and Middle Gate (Chumon), it is all shingled with cypress bark. It was called "Daishido" in 1958 when it was designated as a National Treasure, but inside the temple they mainly say "Mieido." After the original building burned down in 1379, the Rear Hall portion was rebuilt the following year. Ten years later in 1390, the Front Hall was added to the north side to house a statue of Kobodaishi, and the Middle Gate was built on its west side. The Rear Hall (south side) houses a sitting statue of Fudo Myoo (National Treasure, 9th century) that is thought to have been Kukai's personal statue. Although it is kept strictly as a secret Buddha and not shown to the public, it is one of the oldest examples of Japanese Fudo Myoo statues. A sitting statue of Kobodaishi (National Treasure) is housed in the Front Hall to the north. This statue was made in 1233 by Kosho, the 4th son of Unkei, at the request of Shingen of To-ji and is said to be very similar to the portrait painted by Kukai's disciple Shinnyo. Faith in this statue has spread widely among the common people; every morning at 6 o'clock many pligrims gather in front of it to serve breakfast to the Daishi in the Shojinku ceremony.

Dainichido
Major renovations ended in 2000. It has wall paintings by Taisuke HAMADA. It houses a statue of Dainichi Nyorai.

Statue of Dainichi Nyorai (made in Heian period)
Bishamondo
Located on the south side of Mieido. It was built to house the Tobatsu Bishamonten that was previously on the 2nd floor of Rajomon Gate. Tobatsu Bishamonten (National Treasure) is now kept in the Homotsukan Museum. He is Kyoto's Miyako Shichifukujin (Bishamonten).

Kanjoin (Important Cultural Property)
Located on the southwest edge of the grounds. A hall for holding ceremonies such as Denpo Kanjo (the ceremony in which esoteric secrets are transmitted from master to disciple) and Goshichinichi Mishiho (a ceremony from the 8th to 14th of the new year, to pray for the peace and safety of the Emperor), there are no statues of Buddhas inside.

Treasure House (Important Cultural Property)
To the south of the pilgrim's entrance, Keigamon Gate, it is surrounded by a Horiwari. A storehouse in the Azekura construction style of the late Heian period, it is To-ji's oldest building.

Chinju Hachimangu
On the left, just inside Nandaimon Gate. After burning down in 1868, it was rebuilt over a century later in 1992. It houses To-ji's guardian deities, statues of Sogyo Hachimanshin and Joshin.

Nandaimon (Important Cultural Property)
It was the west gate of Sanjusangendo before it was relocated here in 1895. It is about 100m east of the Keihan Kokudoguchi intersection, on Kujo Street.

Rengemon Gate (National Treasure)
An eight-pillared gate, rebuilt most recently in the Kamakura period. West of Honbo, on Mibu Street.

Koshibo
Rebuilt in 1934
It consists of 6 rooms (Washi-no-ma, Hinadori-no-ma, Chokushi-no-ma, Botan-no-ma, Uri-no-ma, Biwa-no-ma)
All of the wall paintings were done by Insho DOMOTO. The western gate of Koshibo is a National Treasure known as Rengemon.

Taigendo
On the right, outside of Kitadaimon Gate. It enshrines the Shitenno and Daigensui Myoo, who safeguards a peaceful nation. Daigensui Myoo is said to have an angry look about him.

Bentendo
On the right as you go out of Kitadaimon gate
It enshrines Benzaiten, who is a god of music, arts, and wealth.

To-ji Homotsukan Museum
On the left as you go out of Kitadaimon gate
During the spring and autumn tourist seasons it displays temple treasures that are not normally open for viewing.

Sub-Temples

Kanchiin
Located on the right hand side of Kushige Koji road as one proceeds out from Kitadaimon gate. It is a sub-temple, but it is its own head temple. Various accounts have it founded by the scholarly monk Goho in 1359 or 1358. Founded as sub-temple. Goho wrote about the history of the temple from its founding to the Muromachi period in his Tohoki, which is now a National Treasure. It was filled out and completed by his disciple Genbo. Kanchiin was considered as the center of scholarly learning not only for To-ji, but for the whole Shingon sect and it produced many scholarly monks. The scripture storehouse, Kongozo, once held extensive documents, books and holy scriptures, but those have now been moved to To-ji's Homotsukan Museum. Although it is not normally open to the public, it may open on special occasions in the spring and fall.

Reception Hall (National Treasure) – Built in 1605
A typical example of Momoyama period Shoin-zukuri style, the building has been designated a National Treasure. In the upper room there are sliding screen paintings attributed to Musashi MIYAMOTO, such as his "Picture of an Eagle". The garden to the south of the Reception Hall is called "Godai no Niwa".

Main Hall – The Godai Kokuzo Bosatsu statues that are the objects of worship were brought from Tang China, and are said to have been worshiped at Qinglong Temple.

Hobodaiin
Its establishment is said to be in 1279. It is a sub-temple on the north side of Kanchiin, along Kushige Koji road. It is its own head temple. It was originally built across Kushige Koji road from Kanchiin, but was moved to its current location when Soko school was opened in 1881. Soko has now become Rakunan High School and its affiliated Middle School. Across the road from Kanchiin, there is an old tile-roofed gate that used to be the front entrance of Hobodaiin.

Associated Facilities

Rakunan High School and its affiliated Middle School are located on the left-hand side of Kushige Koji road as one proceeds out from Kitadaimon gate.

Ruins

The temple precincts have been designated as a national historic landmark, called "Kyoogokoku-ji Keidai."

National Treasures

Buildings

Kondo

5-Story Pagoda

Daishido

Rengemon Gate

Kanchiin Reception Hall – built in 1606

Paintings

7 Shingon Patriarchs, color on silk (paintings) - Portraits of the 7 Patriarchs of the Shingon Sect
Of the 7, 5 were brought back from Tang China by Kukai; although they are heavily damaged, they are extremely valuable because they are some of the few remaining examples of Tang period painting.

Godaison Zo, color on silk – A Buddha image that was hung in the training hall during the Goshichinomishiho festival (an esoteric ritual to pray for the health of the emperor), which was held in the imperial court from the 8th to 14th of the new year. Made in the late Heian period.

Ryokai Mandala, color on silk (Den Shingonin Mandara) - The most famous of the Ryokai Mandalas that crossed over to Japan. Notable for vivid colors and the sensual bodies of the Indian-esque Buddhas. Also called "Saiin Mandara". Made in the early Heian period, in the 9th century.

Juniten Zo, color on silk - 6-paneled Folding Screen, made in the Kamakura period

Sculptures

Wooden Statue of Sitting Godai Bosatsu (the 4 of Kongosatta, Kongoho, Kongoho, and Kongogo.
The central statue, a later work, is not part of the National Treasure designation) - Installed in Lecture Hall

Wooden Statues of 5 Great Myoo (Fudo Myoo, Gozanze Myoo, Daiitoku Myoo, Gundari Myoo, Kongoyasha Myoo) - Installed in Lecture Hall

Wooden Statues of Bonten and Teishakuten - Installed in Lecture Hall

Wooden Statues of Shitenno - Installed in Lecture Hall

Wooden Statue of Sitting Fudo Myoo and Canopy - Installed in Daishido (Mieido)

Wooden Statue of Sitting Kobo Daishi - Installed in Daishido (Mieido)

Wooden Statue of Tobatsu Bishamonten - 189.4cm tall
The statue was originally housed upstairs in Heiankyo's Rajomon Gate. When Rajomon collapsed in 980, an unidentified person dug it out of the rubble and carried it to To-ji. The lumber used is cherry wood from China. One account says that it was made in Tang China and brought to Japan. Housed in Homotsukan Museum.

Wooden Statue of Sitting Sogyo Hachimanshin (x1), Statues of Sitting Joshin (x2), with Statue of Sitting Chisukune TAKENOUCHI - Housed in Chinju Hachimangu Shrine
Made in the early Heian period. One of the oldest statues of Japanese gods.

Craft Works

Esoteric Buddhist Ritual Implements - A complete set of altar equipment made during the Tang dynasty.
Belonged to Kukai

Kendakokushi Kesa and Ouhi - Textiles from the Tang dynasty
Belonged to Kukai

Kaibumakie Kesa Box - Lacquerware from the early Heian period
A box for holding the aforementioned Kesa.

Shitannuri Raden Kondoso Shariren - Used in Sharie (a ceremony that honors the Buddha's bones), similar to a Shinto Shrine's Mikoshi
"Shitannuri Raden Kondoso" means that it is decorated with a wood-grain pattern made with red lacquer over black lacquer (Shitannuri), Raden (mother of pearl decorations), and Kondo (gold plating over copper).

Texts, Books and Ancient Documents

Sekitoku (Fushinjo) Written by Kobo Daishi - "Sekitoku" is a letter written in Chinese characters
3 letters written by Kukai himself were mounted on scrolls; these are extremely important works in the history of Japanese calligraphy
The first letter (to Saicho) is called "Fushinjo" after the section at the beginning that says "Fushinunsho".

Kobo Daishi Shorai Mokuroku - A record of the items that Kukai brought back from Tang China, written by Saicho

Emperor Gouda Shinkan To-ji Koryujojokotogaki Onsoejo - "Shinkan" means "written by the emperor"
Emperor Gouda, who revered Kobo Daishi, wrote this the year after his ordination to express his wishes for the development of To-ji.

Tohoki - To-ji Temple's official record, made from the Nanbokucho into the Muromachi period.

Important Cultural Properties

Buildings
Lecture Hall
Keigamon Gate
Todaimon Gate
Nandaimon Gate
Kitadaimon Gate
Kitasomon Gate
Treasure House
Kanjoin, and its Kitamon Gate, Higashimon Gate
Miniature 5-Story Pagoda

Paintings
Image of 11-Headed Kannon, color on silk
Image of Fukukenjaku Kannon, color on silk
Ryokai Mandala, color on silk, 4 pieces (Ko version, Otsu version, Einin version, Genroku version)
Ryokai Mandala, color on silk (Mandala rug)
Kobo Daishi Gyojoekotoba, color on paper – 12 scrolls
Shoshitsuji Giki Geiin-zu, ink on paper (attributed to Shuei)
Womb Realm Mandala (abbreviated), ink on paper
Esoteric Icons – 10 items (Karazu x1, Ninnokyoho Honzo-zo x5, Shoden-zo x1, Daigensui Myoo-zo (6-headed 8-legged) x1, Daigensui Myoo-zo (6-headed 8-legged) x1, Daigensui Myoo-zo (4-headed 8-legged) x1, Daigensui Madara-zu (18-headed 26-legged) x1, Daigensui Mandara-zu (4-headed 8-legged) x1, Shougyo Mandara-zu x1, Rokudaikokuten-zo x1)

Sculptures
Wooden Statue of Yakushi Nyorai and Flanking Attendants (installed in Kondo)
Wooden Statue of Seated Dainichi Nyorai, with Statues of Seated Kongokai Shibutsu (installed in Lecture Hall)
Wooden 1000-armed Kannon Statue (from Old Dining Hall)
Wooden Statue of Seated Shoso Monju
Wooden Statue of Standing Jizo Bosatsu
Wooden Statues of Standing Kannon Bosatsu, Bonten, and Taishakuten (Niken Kannon)
Wooden Statue of Godaikokuzo Bosatsu (attributed to Eun) (located in Kanchiin)

Crafts
Miniature Cymbals – 1 set
Gold-plated Copperware: Large Bowls x2, Bowls x7, Plates x5, Bowl Lids x8
Gold-plated Copper Reliquary
Gold-plated Copper Vase – 5 pieces
Gold-plated Copper Katsuma – 4 pieces
Inscribed Armrest
Lacquered Leather Box
Crystal Rosary
Tools for Hoe Ceremonies – 39 items (Bugaku Mizuhiki x6, Bane-no-ho x2, Sharie Shozoku costume (Kinu robes, Hakama trousers) 2 sets, Sharie Shozoku Kinu x2, Sharie Shozoku Okuchi x2, Sharie Sangeki Maedare (Shakurenge-monnishiki) x1, Keiro x1, Furizutsumi x1, Kakko (with stand) x1, Kodo drums (with 2 skins each) x2, Shoko x1, wooden shoes x5 pairs, Juniten Jimotsu x13)
Painted Wooden Altar

Texts, Books and Ancient Documents
Image of Kobodaishi, color on silk – with inscription (attributed to Goudain) (Dangi Honzon)
Shittanzo, no. 3, 8
Sohan-issaikyo – 6,087 pieces (7 printed in Japan, 18 restored)
Sohan Daihannyakyo – 642 pieces (9 restored)
Daihannyakyo – 597 scrolls
Daihannyakyo (Shinsenen Kishinkyo) – 587 books
Daibuccho Darani
Bussetsu Kanjokyo – 12 books
Honcho Myosho Ryakuden Ge
To-ji Kanchiin Shogyorui – 15,402 items
Kobo Daishi's Will (on silk)
Godaigo Tenno Tokuyo Goganmon
Shari Bujobun – by Gokogonin
Shari Bujokaimon – by Godaigoin
Letter of Transfer of Manor Lands – by Goudain, 2 scrolls
To-ji Monjo (Rikugei-no-bu) – 91 scrolls

Archeological Artifacts
3 old tiles from Heiankyo

National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties Formerly Kept at To-ji

The following are items that have left the temple's possession for various reasons after the 2nd World War. In "A General Record of Designated Cultural Properties: Arts and Crafts" (1958 and 1968 editions), from the Cultural Properties Protection Committee, these items were listed as belonging to "Kyoogokoku-ji", "Kanchiin", and "Hobodaiin".

National Treasures

Image of Twelve Devas, color on silk – 12 paintings (kept at Kyoto National Museum), splendidly colorful Buddhist paintings from the late Heian period

Landscape on Folding Screen, color on silk (Kyoto National Museum collection) - A screen that was placed in the training hall for esoteric ceremonies
Late Heian Period

Gohikeman (Nara National Museum collection)

Goudain Shinki (National Museum of Japanese History collection)

Sanpo Ekotoba (Tokyo National Museum collection)

Nyutoguho Junreikoki (in a private collection in Gifu Prefecture)

Ruijimyogisho (Tenri University Collection, stored at Tenri Central Library)

Important Cultural Properties
(Kyoto National Museum collection) Wooden Masks of the 12 Devas - 7 masks
(Nara National Museum collection) Shichidaiji Diary
(National Museum of Japanese History collection) Letters from Godaigoin
(MOA Museum of Art collection) Gumonji Mandala, color on silk; Dojikyo Mandala, color on silk; Shoson Zuzo; Den Hoshoshu Joso Zu; Kuyosei Zuzo; Ninnokyoho Zuzo; Taigen Myoo Zuzo; Mandala Collection, ink paintings; Hoshi Manadala Zu fragments; Cupronickel Vase; Saie Magemonoke; Black Lacquer Raden Raiban; Zatsugi Saie Karabitsu
(Tenri University Tenri Library collection) Kobunshosho scroll no. 11, Sezoku Genbun vol. 1, Ruijisandaikyaku no. 3, Sakubun Daitai, Kobun Kokyo, Mougyu (copy from Kouei Year 4), Mougyu (prefaces from Kenei Year 1 and Kenpo Year 6), Monzen no. 26
(In a private collection in Gifu Prefecture) Image of Enmaten, color on silk; Image of Aizen Myoo, color on silk; Horokaku Mandala, color on silk; Unryu Zu, by Oukyo MARUYAMA; Copper Statue of Standing Bodhisattva
(Private Collection) Butsugen Mandala, color on silk; Fugen Enmyo Zo, color on silk

Items That Have Lost Their Important Cultural Property Status

Wooden Statues of Standing Shitenno (installed in former Dining Hall) - When the Dining Hall burned down during the Last Kobo market on December 21, 1930, the 1000-Armed Kannon statue and the statues of Shitenno (all former National Treasures) that were housed there were damaged. The 1000-Armed Kannon retained its status as a former National Treasure, but the Shitenno lost theirs because the fire damage was severe. Although these Shitenno statues were charred black, they retained their shape. In 1993 work began to harden the surface of the statues by injecting synthetic resin, and they are now installed in the rebuilt Dining Hall. At over 3m tall, they are the largest Shitenno statues in Japan.

Kobo Market

On the 21st of every month a "Kobo Market" is opened in honor of Kobo Daishi, and it has the atmosphere of a temple festival. This market is affectionately referred to as "Kobo-san". An especially large number of people come for the "Last Kobo" on December 21st.

Reference Works

"To-ji" Engi
To-ji National Treasures Exhibit (Special Illustrated Edition) Edited by Kyoto National Museum, To-ji Temple, and Asahi Shimbun, 1995

Pilgrimage to Kyoto's Ancient Temples 1: To-ji By Ryotaro SHIBA and Ryuki WASHIO, Yasushi INOUE and Zenryu TSUKAMOTO, editors. Tankosha, 1976.

Shukan Asahi Hyakka: Japan's National Treasures No. 65-67. Asahi Shimbun, 1998

Encyclopedia of Japanese Historic Places: Place Names of Kyoto Heibonsha
Kadokawa Encyclopedia of Japanese Place Names: Kyoto Kadokawa Shoten
Encyclopedia of Japanese History Yoshikawa Kobunkan
Geijutsu Shincho Vol. 46 No. 7 "Open Up, To-ji!" special edition, 1995

The Daishi's Temple: To-ji Kyoogokoku-ji