Of all the temples and shrines I’ve visited in Kyoto, my favourite has to be the little-known Kōtō-in (高桐院), a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji (大徳寺). I discovered it purely by chance four years ago on my first trip to Kyoto and decided to pay a return visit.

Koto-in Entrance

The entrance is preceded by a stone pathway cut through an immaculate moss carpet lined by perfectly proportioned pine trees.

Wooden Gateway

It was established in 1601 as a family temple by the famous Japanese samurai warrior Hosokawa Tadaoki (細川 忠興) who is buried within the temple grounds.

Mossy Path


Take a seat on the veranda overlooking the garden to soak it all in and, just for a moment, forget the world outside.

Kōtō-in Moss Garden

Kōtō-in Veranda


Kōtō-in can be found on the western edge of Daitoku-ji – take a look at my original post for more details and photos.


  1. Wendy Wai says:

    All your photos are so very beautiful, so peace and clam, nobody around. I’ve been to Kyoto once many years ago, and it was a business trip, I love Kyoto at first sight, look forward going there again, next spring. I will join a tour “Walk Japan – Nakasendo Way” The tour start from Kyoto end in Tokyo, it takes 11 days for this walk, I believe it would be quite interesting.
    I do enjoy very much indeed reading your article and the beautiful photos, thank you.

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