UNESCO World Heritage Site #1: Historical Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Toji Temple Kyoto

Photo By: Joshua Hawley

Toji temple or “East Temple”, illuminated during the autumn season. During this time of year, many temples and shrines put on special night illuminations of their gardens, making Kyoto one of the most popular cities in Japan for (Koyo) fall leaf viewing. Toji temple is one of the 17 monuments that comprise the UNESCO list of The Historic Ancient Monuments of Kyoto site dedicated in 1994. The five-story pagoda was constructed in 826 and is the tallest in Japan at 57 meters. Along with the defunct Saji (“South Temple”), it served as the capitals guardian temple.

Kyoto has been the cultural center of Japan for over a 1000 years. Founded in 794, Kyoto served as the imperial capital from the time of its founding until the mid-1800’s when the imperial capital was moved to Tokyo during the Meiji Restoration. Kyoto displays the development of religious architecture and the art of Japanese gardens, which have influenced landscaping gardens throughout the world.