Let’s Compare 4 Five-Storied Pagodas in Kyoto

Apr. 2, 2018

In Kyoto City there are 4 five-storied pagodas (Japanese: goju-no-to). They are overwhelming and worth seeing. They are located in different temples, and all of them have their own charm. Now let’s check them out!

  1. The Pagoda of To-ji Temple

    To-ji Temple is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located near Kyoto Station. The present five-storied pagoda was built in 1644. It is 55 meters high and it is the highest wooden pagoda in Japan, so there is no wonder it is one of the most famous five-storied pagodas in Japan. In the sakura (cherry blossoms) season, it looks most attractive. What I like about the temple is the good access. Also, it is the only place in Kyoto where you can see a five-storied pagoda and sakura reflected in the pond of the garden.

    【To-ji Temple】
    1 Kujyo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 
    Tel: +81 75-691-3325
    5:00 a.m.―5:00 p.m. 
    Kondo, Koudo⇒8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.  (The reception is area closed at 4:30 p.m.)
    Houmotsukan, Kanchi-in House⇒9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. (The reception is area closed at 4:30 p.m.)
    URL: http://www.toji.or.jp/ (Japanese)

  2. The Pagoda of Daigo-ji Temple

    Daigo-ji Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, too. It is located in Daigo, the southeastern part of Kyoto City. The temple is famous for its beautiful sakura. The five-storied pagoda was built to send prayers to Emperor Daigo (885-930) in 951, and it is the oldest wooden building in Kyoto. The height is about 38 meters. It is amazing that the pagoda survived some fires and the Onin War (1467-1477). The temple is very large and it has extremely tall sakura trees, so I wish to go there every spring, if possible.

    【Daigo-ji Temple】
    22 Higashioji-cho, Daigo, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
    Tel: +81 75-571-0002
    From March to the first Sunday of December 9:00 a.m.―5:00 p.m.
    From the first Monday of December to February 9:00 a.m.―4:30 p.m.
    Last ticket 1 hour before closing time
    Last admission to each place 30 minutes before closing time
    URL: https://www.daigoji.or.jp/index_e.html

  3. The Pagoda of Hokan-ji Temple (Yasaka Pagoda)

    Hokan-ji Temple’s five-storied pagoda, known as Yasaka Pagoda (Japanese: Yasaka no To), is a landmark of Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto. It is said that Prince Shotoku (574-622) had a mysterious dream and decided to build the pagoda. The present pagoda was built in 1440. It stands 46 meters high. You can enter it on special days, though there is no fixed date for that. Yasaka Pagoda is a great choice for tourists, because around it there are historical views of sloping streets and various stores, and you can walk to Kiyomizu-dera Temple or Yasaka-jinja Shrine, too.

    Yasaka Pagoda

    【Hokan-ji Temple】
    388 Yasakakamimachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
    Tel: +81 075-752-7070
    10:00 a.m.―4:00 p.m. 

  4. The Pagoda of Ninna-ji Temple

    Ninna-ji Temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is located in Ukyo Ward, the northwestern part of Kyoto. The five-storied pagoda was built in 1644, and it is about 36 meters high. The pagoda and the late-blooming sakura called Omuro-zakura are the symbols of the temple. Omuro-zakura trees are short, so you can view the pagoda beyond them. It is great that even if you miss the chance to see sakura in other places in Kyoto, they are still in bloom here, and moreover, you can enjoy them at the height of your eyes.

    33 Omuroouchi, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto 
    Tel: +81 75-461-1155
    Mar.-Nov. 9:00 a.m.―5:00 p.m.  (The reception is area closed at 4:30 p.m.)
    Dec.-Feb. 9:00 a.m.―4:30 p.m.  (The reception is area closed at 4:00 p.m.)
    URL: http://www.ninnaji.jp/en/

By Meg Konishi (Find Your Japan)