Tofuku-ji Temple is arguably the spot for viewing the changing colors of the autumn leaves.
The main garden’s path takes you through a forest of maple trees and then up above it – via the famous Tsuten-kyo Bridge – so that you peer down on a blanket of red. It’s a breathtaking experience that draws equally breathtaking crowds during the high season. Yet, the various gardens of what is Kyoto’s oldest Zen temple are a delight all year round.
Tofuku-ji was founded in 1236 by statesman Kujo Michiie, who wanted to establish in Kyoto a site comparable to the Nara temples Kofuku-ji and Todai-ji, which houses Japan’s biggest statue of the Buddha. Its name was taken from those. It is the head temple of the Tofuku-ji school of the Rinzai Sect of Zen Buddhism and took 19 years to complete. The spacious complex includes many sub-temples and is Kyoto’s largest Zen site.
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