We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Amazing temple complex, one often overlooked!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Daitoku-ji Temple Complex

Daitoku-ji Temple Complex
53 Murasakino Daitoku-ji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8231, Kyoto Prefecture
+81 75-491-0019
Improve this listing
Ranked #86 of 541 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence 2014
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Daitoku-ji complex of Zen Buddhism consists of 24 temples,including Daisen-in and Ryogen-in.
Winnipeg Canada
Top Contributor
120 reviews 120 reviews
41 attraction reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“Amazing temple complex, one often overlooked!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

This is one of the most peaceful and beautiful temple complexes in Kyoto - one which it seems is overlooked by the usual tour groups. The grounds are covered with temples. Many are situated so you can only look inside - this is an active monastery. There is a stunning dry garden with a small charge but you cannot take photographs. Other temples allow you to sit and meditate as long as you want and meander through their gardens. Worth the bus trip! Outside the gates are many very nice restaurants. If you cannot get to Arashiyama this is a nice alternative.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

87 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    40
    30
    12
    2
    3
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kyoto, Japan
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Koto-in and Daisen-in”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013

My boyfriend and I have been living in Kyoto for 9 months just 5 minutes away by bicycle from this amazing temple complex, but haven't managed to visit until this weekend. We did the Imperial Palace in the morning, stopped at cafe E-san on Imadegawa-dori for a buffet lunch, and then finished off the afternoon from 2-4:30 at Koto-in and Daisen-in.

Daisen-in was beautiful, with a great example of Zen garden architecture. We payed our 400 yen each and received a well-written if unwieldy numbered English guide. I studied this garden in a college class, and it was great to see the real thing. We are interested in tea ceremony, and behind the zen garden there is a nice display of tea implements and some scrolls done by the current abbot. This area is closed off, but if you just ask one of the people who work there and point to the area on the map they will be happy to open it up for you. The actual tea room was closed when we went, but we peeked through the sliding door. Give this place a good 30-40 minutes. Great on a cloudy day.

Koto-in was my favorite of the two, because it had a beautiful moss pathway, an accessible garden, and a more peaceful environment than a lot of the more well-known temples in Kyoto. I liked the bamboo forest that surrounded it, and thought it was nicer than the very crowded bamboo forest in Arashiyama (which I still like!). It also cost 400 yen. There are some great examples of tea houses, tokonoma, and preparation rooms in this temple in a couple different styles. The garden was very peaceful, and you can take slippers from the cabinet on the far right of the garden viewing area and walk around in the garden and to the cemetery in the back.

I definitely recommend this complex to people looking to explore zen away from the main tourist areas.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
83 helpful votes 83 helpful votes
“Don't miss Koto-in”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2013 via mobile

The grounds of Daitokuji are well worth a wander for their beautiful peacefulness. I'd give Daisen-in a miss for reasons I've set out in a review on that specific temple. But your faith in how zen temples can give you a great feeling can be fully restored by visiting Koto-in. This is great value for money and a little gem. For all these temples it's worth reading up omn their history before visiting. Unfortunately, the number of temples and the proportion you're allowed to see, seems to diminish by the year. . No doubt it's hard to handle the press of visitors, but others have managed it.

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide, Australia
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
40 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
“superb Zen temples & gardens”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

Do make the effort to get there. It is a walled complex consisting of approx 20 sub temples and though one does not have to go inside all temples and some are free. It is also a great way to see a superb variety of Zen gardens. There are raked gardens and lush green gardens around the complex , all exquisite and varied. If you have limited time in Kyoto this complex should be at the top of your list as you can see it all in one visit.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Top Contributor
100 reviews 100 reviews
24 attraction reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Hidden gem out of the tourist circus”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012 via mobile

This is a complex of temples that seems to miss out on attracting the tourist hordes making it a welcome getaway. Easily accessed by buses 9, 205 and 206 it has some stunning temples but is more amazing for its incredible gardens. There are dry gardens of most types, the most stunning being Daisen-in. Safely much can't be accessed and some of the entries are a little steep but maintenance at this scale costs!!! The only disappointment was not being allowed to photograph the Daisen-in garden and being threatened that we were being followed by CCTV just in case we tried!!

Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Daitoku-ji Temple Complex also viewed

Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
 
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
 

Been to Daitoku-ji Temple Complex? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Daitoku-ji Temple Complex, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.