Toji Temple and Flea Market

When we emerged from our Kyoto hotel in the morning we would look across the street and see this large wooden pagoda. Upon inquiring, we were told that it’s part of the Toji Temple complex.


Toji’s history goes back 1,200 years, to the days when Kyoto was still the new capital of Japan. It was one of the first three Buddhist temples built in the city.

Since it was just across the street, we visited several times. The pagoda is 180 feet tall and the largest wooden tower in Japan.


Here’s a picture of the pagoda’s base.


The temple has a small garden and pond with at least one turtle.


Is this some kind of Rose-of-Sharon/Hibiscus syriacus?


This was an interesting stone lantern made with uncut or partially cut stone.


This hall is full of some fascinating Buddhist statuary. We went in, but unfortunately photographs are not allowed.


On the 21st of each month Toji Temple hosts a famous flea market. That just happened to be our last day in Kyoto, and we were able to visit the flea market before catching our train to Tokyo.


OK, just a little digression now on street food, specifically something called takoyaki. Takoyaki looks like it should taste really good – kind of like a savory munchkin from Dunkin Donuts. We bought some, but it was just a little too strange for our palates. First off, the batter inside is uncooked. And second off, it is full of baby octopus tentacles. We’re not averse to eating octopus, but when Judy took a bite of her takoyaki this little tentacle stuck out in a rather threatening way, along with oozing uncooked batter. The effect was enhanced because it was so completely unexpected.


Pancakes filled with sweetened bean paste were more to our liking.


Anyway, more about the flea market. There’s all kinds of stuff for sale: cheap and expensive, new and second hand, clothes, antiques, dishware, etc. We ended up buying kimonos for Daniel’s fiancée and David’s girlfriend.


This monthly flea market is a major happening – it was packed with people.


These are Noh masks.


I think these are statuettes of Christian martyrs. That’s my best guess, anyway.



And one more picture of the pagoda, this time with blue skies (finally).

18 Comments on “Toji Temple and Flea Market”

  1. I would have loved to check out the flea market! I saw an article by a foodie journalist during the Olympics, he tried a Korean octopus dish that is served with the octopus so freshly killed it is chopped up but still wiggling. Yikes!

  2. Lots to look at. The octopus sounds very unappealing, especially when you take into account what intelligent creatures they are. Much better to stick to rolls with bean paste. As far as we know, beans are not that intelligent. Of course, you never really do know. Anyway, I’m digressing. I enjoyed this tour very much.

  3. You certainly are brave trying some of the street vendors foods. I am not a seafood fanatic so I might not eat much while there. I bet there was more than one turtle in that pond. I am glad you finally had some blue skies. The flea market would have been fun to walk through. Surely you found something you couldn’t resist while perusing all that was available.

  4. I’ve eaten Takoyaki before on a visit to Singapore! Your description identified it for me! I eat a lot of different types of food, but that one was definitely a little too out there for me with the uncooked batter. (Ick!) The temple is so pretty, especially with the garden. What fun to visit the flea market!

  5. Oh, I’m an outdoor market junkie – love them! I would have been all over the pottery – it’s my favourite type of souvenir. Too bad that you can’t take photos inside the temple, although completely understandable. I would have loved to see that.

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