Tofukuji - Kyoto

Located at 15 Chome-778 Honmachi, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City in Kyoto Prefecture, Tofukuji (東福寺) is the head temple of the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. 

Tofukuji (東福寺)

Tofukuji History

Tofukuji was founded in 1236 by the priest Enni. The temple grounds cover an area of 200,000 square meters. It is presently home to the Hojo (Abbot's Hall) the huge San-mon (temple gate) and 24 sub-temples. 

Tofukuji Rokuhara Gate

Tofukuji Sanmon

Aside from these, you can also see the spectacular
checkboard-patterned garden in the temple grounds. However, to view the garden, you have to pay the 400 yen entrance fee for the Hojo and its garden. 

A closer view of Tofukuji Sanmon

 Tofukuji Zen Hall

A closer view of Tofukuji Zen Hall

Tofukuji Kuri

Another part of the temple ground worth checking out is the Tsutenkyo (Bridge to Heaven) and the Kaisando. It is worth noting that the Tsutenkyo was one of the filming locations of the Japan edition music video of Clean Bandit's Solo featuring Demi Lovato. You can check out the said video below. The Tsutenkyo dance scene is at 1:58.

Tofukuji Tsutenkyo

Crossing the Tofukuji Tsutenkyo 

Watched Clean Bandit's Solo music video while in Tofukuji Tsutenkyo

Check out Clean Bandit's Solo music video ft. Demi Lovato


The bridge is also a famous foliage viewing spot every autumn. The leaves of the numerous maple trees at the valley below turn fire-red every autumn. Hence Tofukuji tends to be crowded every October to early December. Just a heads up though, you have to also pay a 400 yen admission fee to enter Tsutenkyo bridge and the Kaisando area. 

Tofukuji Aizendo at the other end of the Tsutenkyo

Tofukuji Kaizando was being restored during our visit

Tofukuji Kaizando

My brother and I got to visit Tofukiji on the 5th day of our 2019 Japan trip. It was my first time visiting the said temple. I missed visiting the temple during my 2014 and 2018 visits as it was still "outside my radar". I only gained interest in it after seeing it in the Solo music video. 

Here are some of the photos of the temple grounds:








During our visit, we skipped the Hojo and garden area. We only went to the Tsutenkyo and Kaisando area. Sadly, most of the maple leaves shed their leaves already. Regardless, the view from the bridge remained fascinating. As for the Kaisando, it was under restorative works so we failed to see its full beauty.

Off to our next destination...

Gaun Bridge

Tofukuji's Tsutenkyo as seen from Gaun Bridge

Tofukuji Admission Fee:

There are parts of Tofukuji that you can explore for FREE. However, if you wish to enter the Hojo and the garden you need to pay 400 yen. Another 400 yen entrance fee will be charged if you wish to enter the Tsutenkyo and Kaisando area.

Tofukuji Opening Hours:

Tofukuji is open from 8:30AM to 4PM.

Why visit Tofukuji?

Tofukuji is a perfect place to visit if you're exploring the Rakunan Area of Kyoto. It's one of those temples that offer a mix of splendid nature views and rustic feels. Aside from that, if you're a fan of Clean Bandit then this place should be part of your itinerary. It will make you proud to see the Tsutenkyo Bridge where a part of the Solo music video was shot.

Getting to Tofukuji: 


From Kyoto Station, ride bus #208 and board down at Tofukuji bus stop.
Fare: 230 yen

As an alternative, you can also board the Keihan Line or JR Nara Line and board down at Tofukuji Station.  
Fare: 150 yen

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