Yasaka no To

So, if you walk around Higashiyama in Kyoto, you’re bound to notice a rather large pagoda – that is Yasaka no To (To is equivalent to pagoda in Japanese). It was part of a larger complex called Hokanji that dates back quite some time (to the 6th century, apparently, although the pagoda is from the 15th century).

I wanted to go and get a better picture, so I found out where it was and went over there – there was an entrance booth, but the entire place was locked. I checked online, and numerous sites insisted it was accessible and was open from 10 to 4, with admission costing 400 yen. The next few times I was in the area I tried and tried and it was always closed.

Then I happened upon the Japanese Wikipedia article and found out the story. Apparently it is open to the public, just at somewhat random times. Basically, during the busy season, open days are during the weekend, when many people can visit. During the off season, more days are open, but it is still irregular – there are no definitive days when it will be open. The monks (or whoever at the temple is responsible) are a bit busy, so when they’re busy or the weather is bad, it probably won’t be open (this is also true for closing early). Apparently the inside stairs are a bit steep, so elementary school students can’t enter (even with their parents).

Yasaka no to sounds interesting (something worth trying for 400 yen), so if you have a chance, it should be worth it (not that I’ve been, although it should be on the list).

Yasaka no to 1

Yasaka no to 2

Yasaka no To’s opening hours could best be called irregular, although it should be open from 10:00 t0 4:00. Admission costs 400, and somehow I feel this is a lot more fixed than the opening hours.