Many tourists come to visit the historical temples in Kyoto in autumn and enjoy the colors of the autumn leaves. While there are many places known for their scenic beauty and fall foliage in Kyoto, Tofuku-ji Temple must certainly be one of the most popular.
Tofuku-ji Temple was originally a family temple constructed by Fujiwara-no-Tadahira in the middle of the Heian Period. In the Kamakura Period, it was reconstructed by the Prince Regent Kujo Michiie to house a 15m high statue of the Buddha. Tofuku-ji Temple was named after two famous temples in Nara, taking one Chinese character, the "To," from Todai-ji Temple and another, the "Fuku," from Kofuku-ji Temple, thus creating the largest temple in Kyoto. In 1334, the first year of the Kenmu Period (1334-1336), it was ranked number four of the five highest-ranking temples in Kyoto, known collectively as the Kyoto Gozan. As a symbol of its rank, there is a huge painting of a dragon, the Soryu-zu, on the ceiling of the Hondo main hall of the temple, drawn by Domoto Insho, one of the foremost authorities of modern painting in Japan. Since it was first built, the temple has burned down many times, but the various leaders of the times, such as Ashikaga Yoshimochi, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, had it rebuilt in its original form, naming it the "New Tofuku-ji Temple." Accordingly, even now we can see what a Zen temple was like in the middle ages. Even though the scale of the temple was reduced due to anti-Buddhist policies during the Meiji Period, there are still 25 large halls on its grounds. These vast grounds with their colorful fall foliage are a sight you will want to see at least once.