Kodaiji Temple, formally known as Kodaijusho-zenji Temple, is located in the Higashiyama mountains of eastern Kyoto just south of Yasaka shrine and close to the famous Kiyomizudera Temple. Most of the temples on the foothills of the Higashiyama mountain range can be easily reached by bus (or even by walk) from the JR Kyoto station.
This temple was established in 1605 by the noblewoman Kita-no-Mandokoro in memory of her late husband, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-98).
Kodaiji Temple's construction was extensively financed by Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hideyoshi's chief vassal and later Shogun of Japan. This temple renowned for it's beautiful design and exquisite craftsmanship. In 1624 Sanko Joeki, Head priest of Kenninji Temple, was appointed founding priest, and Kodaiji Temple has remained one of the Kenninji Temple's largest and most important sub-temples ever since.
Kita-no-Mandokoro (known more familiarly as "Nene") was awarded the highest rank of nobility by Emperor Goyozei in 1588, and in 1603 was accorded the honorary name Kodai-in, it is from the latter that Kodai-ji Temple's name derives. Following the custom among noble ladies of her time, she became a Buddhist nun after the death of her husband and adopted the religious name Kogetsu-ni. She died at the age of 76 on September 6, 1624.
Kodaiji Temple Seal
Kyoto city temples are known for their gardens and Kodaiji temple has one of the best gardens of them all. This garden has been designated by the Japanese Government as a "Place of Historical Importance and Outstanding Scenery". The Moon Viewing Pavilion (Kangetsu-Dai) that is attached to the temple garden, is a small four-pillared structure, designed to allow viewing of the moon's reflection on the surface of the pond, in the temple garden.
Another small building in the temple premises is called Iho-An (The cottage of lingering fragrance). This building was the favorite tea ceremony room of Haiya Shoeki, a wealthy merchant, and Yoshino-dayu, a renowned beauty and dancer who later became Shoeki's wife. This and another tea house, the onigawara-seki, are representative examples of Kodaiji Temple and Heian era Kyoto in general.
All buildings in the Kodaiji temple precincts are designated as important cultural properties by Japanese government.