Jojakko-ji Temple is located on the side of Mt. Ogura (Ogurayama) in Sagano, Kyoto and is one of the best temples for viewing autumn foliage. It is said that the name Jojakko – meaning “everlasting light of wisdom when nearing nirvana” in Japanese - comes from the light that shining through the trees that overgrow the temple. There you can witness beautiful scenery throughout all seasons.
Autumn Scenery with Slightly Crimson Colored Light Coming Through Jojakko-ji Temple's Foliage
Once could say that the beauty of Jojakko-ji comes from the numerous trees in the area. There are over 200 Japanese maple trees covering the temple grounds. The layered branches and leaves create a beautiful gradation of red, yellow, orange, and green, as well as an elaborate pattern of shadows on the stone pavement.
You will first go through the main gate, which was reportedly built during the middle of the Edo period, to enter the temple grounds. The gate has a large sign with “Jojakko-ji” written on it.
After walking along a small path with beautifully hued trees, you will come to the Niomon Gate, which symbolizes Jojakko-ji, and is used in many forms of media.
Looking through Niomon Gate, the view of the stairs leading up through the colored scenery is like a painting.
The stone stairs behind Niomon Gate are surrounded by colorful trees that reflect the sunlight beautifully. The ground on either side are carpeted with green moss. Walking up the stairs is like walking in a kaleidoscope - the scenery changes with every step.
Following the worship route from the main hall, a view of Kyoto City and colored leaves is visible on the left hand side. It’s a perfect place to catch your breath before continuing up the route leading to Tahoto Pagoda (two-storied pagoda), an important cultural property built in the Momoyama period.
Tahoto Pagoda is said to have been built by local leaders of Kyoto. It is 12m tall, housing statues of Shaka and Tahonyorai and referred to as Heisonkaku. The interior is off limits and can’t be seen, but the exterior and its ornate engravings are worth the visit.
Jojakko-ji, Filled with Beauty throughout the Seasons
Autumn may be the most colorful season, however Jojakko-ji is filled with beauty throughout the year such as cherry blossoms in spring, moss during the rainy season, vibrant greenery in early summer and the snowscape in winter.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to Jojakko-ji Temple, and its colorful gradation of foliage and dramatic scenery throughout the year. If you are in the Sagano and Arashiyama region during your travels, please stop by this beautiful temple.
Text by:Myogaya Nobuhisa
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