Koto-in Temple (高桐院)

Koto-in Temple is a sub-temple within the precinct of Rinzai Sect Daihonzan (head temple) Daitoku-ji Temple located in Murasakino, Kita Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. The kaiki (founding patron) was Tadaoki (Sansai) HOSOKAWA and the kaisan (founding priest) was Gyokuho Joso.


Koto-in Temple was founded in 1602 by Tadaoki HOSOKAWA, a resourceful general who made his name during the Sengoku Period (Period of Warring States) (Japan) and one of the seven disciples of tea ceremony master Rikyu, and he named his uncle Gyokuho Joso as kaisan (founding priest).

After passing away in 1645 aged 83, he was buried at Koto-in Temple according to his will and it later became patronized as the ancestral temple of the Hosokawa clan.


Main Hall (guest hall): Once housed sliding panel paintings believed to be the work of Tohaku HASEGAWA but these were lost as a result of the anti-Buddhist movement at the beginning of the Meiji period. The current building was donated by Marquis Moritatsu HOSOKAWA - a descendant of Tadaoki (Sansai) HOSOKAWA.

Garden: The simple and elegant garden is commonly referred to as 'Kaede-no-Niwa' (Maple Garden) and has a single lantern standing on the moss-covered ground.

Horai (teahouse): This teahouse was favored by Ennosai of the Urasenke tea ceremony school and the stone washbasin in the front garden is said to have been brought back to Japan by Kiyomasa KATO on his return from the Imjin War on the Korean Peninsula and given to Tadaoki (Sansai) HOSOKAWA as a gift.

Shoin (study): Known as "Ihoku-ken" and said to be the relocated residence of SEN no Rikyu.

Shoko-ken (teahouse): This teahouse was favored by Tadaoki (Sansai) HOSOKAWA and is said to be true to the tea ceremony style developed by SEN no Rikyu and also said to be a relocated teahouse that was used when Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI hosted the Great Kitano Tea Ceremony.

Graveyard: A Kasuga type lantern that serves as the gravestone of Tadaoki HOSOKAWA and his wife Garasha (Gracia) HOSOKAWA in the main hall garden. Tadaoki HOSOKAWA was extremely fond of this lantern and it is said that he selected it to serve as his grave marker. There is also a graveyard that is not open to the public behind the main hall, in which Tadataka HOSOKAWA, (later named Kyumu NAGAOKA) - the eldest son of Tadaoki (Sansai) HOSOKAWA and Garasha HOSOKAWA, IZUMO no Okuni and Sanzaburo NAGOYA are buried.

National Treasures

2 monochrome ink painting on silk of landscape including an monochrome ink painting on silk of portrait of Yoryu Kannon-zu: These two landscape paintings came into the possession of Koto-in Temple after its founding and were painted by LI Tang of the Chinese Southern Song Dynasty imperial art institute. A hidden inscription reading 'painted by LI Tang' written on one of the trees in one of the paintings has been validated. The three pieces were originally thought to be a set consisting of the portrait of Yoryu Kannon (an addition to the National Treasure designation) at the center with the landscapes to the left and right and all three works were thought to have been created by WU Daozi.

Important Cultural Properties

2 color painting on silk of peonies: A masterpiece of peonies dating from the Chinese Yuan Dynasty said to be the works of QIAN Shunju of paintings of flowers and birds and thought to have been used at Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's Great Kitano Tea Ceremony.

Color painting on silk of portrait of Ryochu INABA

Other cultural properties

Portrait of Gyokuho Joso: A portrait of Koto-in Temple founding priest Gyokuho Joso aged 64 thought to be the work of Tohaku HASEGAWA's last years.

Portrait of Tadaoki HOSOKAWA
Folding screen painting of a man riding a donkey: A four-panel folding screen confidently verified as the work of Tohaku HASEGAWA that temporarily left the temple as a result of the anti-Buddhist movement at the beginning of the Meiji period.

Hiyoshi Sanno-sai Festival folding screen: A pair of six-panel folding screens depicting the Sanno-sai Festival held at Hiyoshi-taisha Shrine in Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture that are said to be the work of Mitsuoki TOSA of the Tosa School despite little evidence.

Blue Ido tea bowl: This Ido tea bowl with the inscription 'Ryokumo' is a fine example of an Ido tea bowl and SEN no Rikyu is said to have been highly fond of using it.


Take the Kyoto City Bus from JR Kyoto Station to Daitoku-ji mae bus stop (approximately 30 minutes) and walk for approximately 10 minutes.

[Original Japanese]