World Heritage / Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Criteria: (ii) (iv) | Date of Inscription: 1994 | Location: Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures | Justification for Inscription


Things to see


Tinted autumn leaves
Tinted autumn leaves
Kozan-ji Temple is located northwest of the main city of Kyoto in the mountains along the Kiyotaki main road. Many people visit in summer to feel its refreshing breeze and to see its beautiful tinted leaves in autumn. Kozan-ji Temple is famous for its "Choju Jinbutsu Giga" scroll; one of the recommended sights to see when visiting.

Located far along the Kiyotaki main road, the temple is famous for its autumnal colors come October or November. Kozan-ji Temple is also known as a temple with many cultural assets handed down from the past including the Choju Jinbutsu Giga scroll, referred to above and noted as the oldest existing example of Japanese caricatures, pictures, books and documents. Kozan-ji Temple was reportedly built in the Nara era but official recognition came only in 1206 with Myoue-shonin (a saint) at its head. The temple is currently under the Omuro Sect of Shingon Buddhism.
"Choju Jinbutsu Giga" is a national treasure picture story consisting of four volumes. Volume 1 is the most famous and features various animals such as rabbits, frogs, and monkeys. The original versions are nowadays entrusted to the Tokyo National Museum and those viewed at Kozan-ji today are reproductions of the originals. Sekisui-in Temple, another national treasure is designed in the gable and hip roof style using thin wooden sheets and was once the former imperial villa of Gotoba Joko (a retired emperor) transferred here for use as the residence of Myoue-shonin.

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