In the 13th year of Enryaku(794) the Emperor Kam-mu transferred the capital of this country from Nara to Kyoto and he built, after the model of Changan, the then capital of China, two huge guardian temples on the east and the west side of the Rajyo-mon which was the south gateway to Kyoto. They are Toji-Temple(East Temple) and Saiji-Temple(West Temple).
About thirty years later the Emperor Saga honoured Kukai(774-835; founder of Shingon Buddhism) with Toji Temple and gave it the official name Kyo-o-gokokuji, which means the temple that guards the capital and the land by virtue of Ninno-gokoku-kyo(the main sutra of the Shingon sect). Kukai made Toji the central seminary of Esoteric Buddhism and added various other buildings to it. It retains its original layout and architectural style and is known as a treasure house of Esoteric Buddhist art, due to its large number of cultural assets brought back from China such as old Buddhist statues, carvings, magnificent paintings, artistic handicrafts, etc.
Buddhas of Toji-Temple.
| Five-storied Pagoda. *National Treasure, Edo period
Kon-do(Main Hall)*National Treasure, Momoyama period.
|This building was first erected in 796. It was burnt down in 1486, and
reconstructed by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1603.
The double roofed irimoya-style Kon-do is the biggest building in Toji. The raised central part of the lower roof offsets the regularity of the front view of the building. Here the Tenjiku(old Indian) style is introduced into the traditional Japanese architectural style.
Ko-do(Lecture Hall)*Important Cultural Property, Momoyama period.
This building was started by Kukai in 825, and completed in 835.
*National Treasure, Muromachi period
Kukai(the founder of Shingon Buddhism) lived in this hall. It is also called Fudo-do, because Kukai used to pray to the Fudo-Myo-o(Secret Buddha, a national treasure) for all people every day. This hall was burnt down in 1379, and was rebuilt the following year. 10 years later, a statue of Kukai was installed.
On the 21st of every month (the day of Kobo-Daishi, Kukai's posthumous title), no less than three hundred thousand pilgrims visit here to worship before the image of Kobo-daishi in the Miei-do(Founder's Hall). The hall on the north side is irimoya-style, the center gate is kirizuma-style, and the gentle slope of the roof is hiwada-buki style. They are very graceful.