Tofuku-ji Temple

#tofukuji #zen #zengarden

Tofuku-ji Temple(東福寺)

Going to the Zen temple Tofukuji is always special occasion. Founded in 1236 and rebuilt after burning down at 15th century Tofukuji was always one of the most important temples of Rinzai sect. You will be definitely stunned by the magnificence of architecture and artistic style of the premises. The lingering aura of Zen world is strongly pervasive and will strike you the very moment you enter the place. It is really easy to forget about outer world with all of its chaos and to relax. In one of the gardens you can gain new energy and strength for everything that awaits you outside.

Hojo garden – the eastern part

Hojo garden – the southern part

The dragon painting on the ceiling of the main hall

Sanmon Gate


Tofukuji Temple is now also well-known for its maple trees. The garden with more than 200 trees gets incredibly crowded when autumn comes and leaves change their color to dazzling yellow and red. But it seems that originally there were no maple trees at all. I was told that instead of the maple trees there used to be plenty of cherry trees. The Japanese have from time immemorial habit of merrymaking under the cherry trees in full bloom. During the season of the cherry blossoms they always get together under the cherry trees, enjoying lots and lots of alcohol and food. That is exactly the same thing the rich were practicing at Tofuku-ji Temple many centuries ago. But one warlord who considered such behavior to be useless and wasting, he decided to have the all cherry trees cut down to prevent such pointless revelry. So it seems that for some time, there were no trees at all. But then, when the new military leader got to the power, he decided planted the maple trees there and thanks to it we can now enjoy the coloring of their leaves every autumn. It does not mean though that there is nothing to enjoy during the winter. Especially moss covered with snow looks fantastic. Tofukuji Temple is simply the place to go to at any time of the year.

In winter

Hojo garden (the western part) – the moss in snow