Tucked amidst office buildings and departments stores behind Kyoto Station, Toji, the Eastern Temple, is where modern and ancient Japan meet. Founded in 794, the same year the capital was moved from Nara to Kyoto, To-ji was one of the original pair of temples built to protect the new city. Of the pair, the Western Temple has long since vanished, but Toji endures as one of Kyoto’s best known symbols. The pagoda, Japan’s tallest, overlooks pleasant landscape gardens with koi-filled ponds, and the main hall houses a number of important and ancient Buddhist sculpture.
The temple is perhaps best known for the Kobo-san markets, however, which are held on the 21st of every month and feature a huge variety of antiques and crafts.