Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in, and Nene no Michi

Kodaiji Temple

Welcome to another exciting journey as we explore the historic city of Kyoto, Japan. Today, we delve into the rich history and cultural significance of two interconnected attractions: Kodaiji Temple and Entoku-in, and the charming path that links them, Nene no Michi.

Kodaiji Temple: A Testament to Timeless Love

Established in 1606, Kodaiji Temple is a testament to the timeless love story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s great unifiers, and his wife, Nene. Nene commissioned the temple in memory of her late husband, ensuring his legacy lived on. The temple is a masterpiece of Momoyama culture, showcasing the opulence of the era.

The Majestic Structures of Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple houses several cultural treasures, including the Main Hall (Hojo), which was reconstructed in 1912 and features stunning interiors with lacquer and gold leaf. The temple’s Spirit Hall (Kaisan-do) is a designated Important Cultural Property and houses a statue of Hideyoshi. The temple also boasts a beautiful tea house, Iho-an, which translates to “Cottage of Lingering Fragrance”.

Special Night Opening & Lighting-up at Kodaiji Temple

One of the highlights of Kodaiji Temple is its special ‘Night Opening & Lighting Up’ event. During specific days throughout the year, the temple is beautifully illuminated, offering breathtaking views of the gardens and buildings against the backdrop of the night sky. Each season offers a unique experience. This event is a must-see for visitors.

  • Spring: The event takes place from mid-March to early May, from 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM. During this period, the weeping cherry trees of Hashin-tei Garden are in full bloom, creating a mesmerizing view under the night sky. Details here.
  • Summer: The summer illumination is held from August 1 to August 18, from 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM. This period offers a different kind of beauty, with the temple and its surroundings bathed in the warm glow of summer. Details here.
  • Autumn: The event takes place from late October to early December, from 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM. The fall season at Kodaiji Temple is particularly enchanting due to the Kyoto fall foliage, a stunning display of vibrant colors. Details here.
  • Winter: The winter event offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere. The dates for the 2023 winter event are yet to be announced. Details here.

In addition to the regular illumination, Kodaiji Temple and Entoku-in will host a special exhibition called ‘Hyakki Yagyo’ from July 15 to August 31, 2023. This exhibition, now in its 18th year, features new and old Hyakki Yagyo scrolls owned by Kodaiji Temple, as well as a hanging scroll of Jigoku Dayu by Kawanabe Kyosai. The temple’s main hall and precincts will be adorned with ‘ghost lanterns’, and the fusuma of the Hojo will feature the ‘Yokai Night Parade’ by Fujii Yuzen, donated in 2019. The exhibition also includes adorable Hyakki Yagyo pictures and selected works from the AR picture book ‘Mimamori Yokai’ by KYOTSUBE, an animator and AR picture book author based in Kansai. Details here.

Please note that the dates and times are subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check the official website for the most up-to-date information.

Entoku-in: A Tranquil Retreat

Just a stone’s throw away from Kodaiji Temple is Entoku-in, a sub-temple of Kodaiji. Nene moved to Entoku-in after Hideyoshi’s death and lived there until her own passing. The temple houses two beautiful gardens: the North Garden, which was moved from Fushimi Castle and represents Hideyoshi’s exuberance, and the South Garden, which reflects Nene’s refined taste. The temple also features golden screens depicting pine, bamboo, and plum blossoms, as well as snow, the moon, and flowers, representing Hideyoshi’s life journey.

Nene no Michi: A Walk Through History

Nene no Michi is a charming stone-paved path that stretches approximately 1km from the south gate of Yasaka Shrine to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Named after Nene, the path is lined with traditional machiya houses, temples, and shrines, offering a glimpse into the city’s rich history. The path starts at Kodaiji Temple and passes by Entoku-in, leading you through a journey of historical exploration. The path is especially beautiful during the cherry blossom season and the autumn foliage season, when the gardens are at their most beautiful.

Engaging Activities at Kodaiji Temple

Kodaiji Temple offers several engaging activities for visitors. You can participate in a traditional tea ceremony at Iho-an, or explore the art of lacquerware at the Kodaiji Sho Museum. The temple also hosts special events throughout the year, such as the Yuka Tea Ceremony in summer and the Temple Light Up event, which illuminates the temple and its gardens in the evenings during spring (cherry blossom season), summer, fall (Kyoto fall foliage), and winter.

Practical Information

Before planning your visit, here’s some practical information about Kodaiji Temple and Entoku-in:

For Kodaiji Temple:

  • Address: 526 Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0825, Japan (Google Maps)
  • Official Website: Kodaiji Temple
  • Opening Times: 9:00 AM – 5:30 PM (Last entry at 5:00 PM)
  • Closing Days: Open all year round –
  • Access Information: The temple is a 15-minute walk from the nearest bus stop, Higashiyama Yasui.

For Entoku-in:

  • Address: 530 Kodaiji-Shimokawara-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Japan 605-0825 (Google Maps)
  • Official Website: Entoku-in
  • Opening Hours: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last entry 5:30 PM)
  • Entrance Fee: 500 yen for adults, 200 yen for children aged 15 and younger


Both Kodaiji Temple and Entoku-in are highly recommended for their historical significance, stunning architecture, and beautiful gardens. I particularly recommend visiting during the Temple special ‘Night Opening & Lighting Up’ event, where the illuminated gardens offer a truly magical experience.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in, and Nene no Michi is during the spring (cherry blossom season) and fall (Kyoto fall foliage), when the gardens are at their most beautiful. However, these sites offer a serene and peaceful experience all year round.

Concluding Thoughts

Visiting Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in, and walking along Nene no Michi offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Japan’s rich history and culture. Whether you’re participating in a traditional tea ceremony, marveling at the beautiful gardens, or simply soaking in the tranquil atmosphere, your visit to these historic sites will undoubtedly be a memorable part of your Kyoto journey.

Please note that all information provided is accurate as of the time of writing. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the official websites or contact the temples directly.

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