Kyo-o-gokoku-ji temple (To-ji temple)
[Official Name] Kyo-o-gokoku-ji temple
[Common Name] To-ji temple
[Location] Kujo-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto-shi
[Religious Sect] Shingon-shu sect
[Dedicated To] Yakushi Nyorai
This temple, also known as To-ji (East) temple, was built in 794 along with the capital moving to Heian-kyo. The purpose of this temple was to protect the nation from evil spirits, and was built in the east to the Sai-ji (West) temple built in the west. In 823, Emperor Saga gave Kukai this temple as an exercise hall for the esoteric Buddhism, and made Kukai devote himself to study the Shingon esoteric Buddhism. This is the beginning of Kyo-o-gokoku-ji temple as a Shingon-shu sect temple. Sai-ji temple vanished through the long history of Japan, however, To-ji temple survived because the Emperor had given the temple to Kukai. There are no buildings from when the temple was first constructed, but there are many national treasures or important national properties. In the Kodo (Lecture Hall) which Kukai concentrated his mind in the most are many different images of Buddha, and gives out a solemn atmosphere. This temple became famous for the treasure house of many national treasures and important cultural properties.
The Nandai-mon gate carved gorgeously, the majestic Kondo which Toyotomi Hideyori rebuilt, the Kodo (Lecture Hall) where many images of Buddha lies, and the Jikido (Refectory), all stands in line, and on the right-hand side of the Kondo is the five-storied pagoda. This is the highest old architecture in Japan with the height of fifty-seven meters. In the Takaramono-kan (Treasure Hall) is the exotic image of the Tobatsu Bishamonten and many other cultural properties, such as sculptors, paintings, and books about the Shingon esoteric Buddhism.
For an explanation of Kukai, please look at the page of "Historical People".