Founded in the late 700s, just after the capital of Japan was moved to Kyoto, Toji (West) Temple and the former Saiji (East) Temple served as guardian temples for the castle.
Kondo Hall is the temple's main building and dates back to the original layout. It was destroyed by a fire in 1486 and rebuilt in the early Edo Period in a contemporary-for-the-time style. It houses a large wooden Yakushi Buddha and his two attendants.
Next door is the Kodo Hall, which also burned down in the fire and was rebuilt in its original style. It used to serve as a lecture hall, but now it is the home to 19 statues imported from China, with Dainichi Buddha in the middle. I really like the architecture of this building, especially the inside.
The five-storied pagoda was erected in 826, and is 52 meters tall - the tallest in Japan.
If you're lucky, you can enter the ground floor and see four more Buddha statues. I happened to be there at the right time to see them, though photography isn't allowed inside.
A small reflecting pond and garden is next to the pagoda, and is a nice, but short, stroll back to the entry gate.
There was a solitary crane in the water, possibly looking for some food.
Outside of the paid area is Miedo Hall and the treasure house Homotsukan Museum. The museum is only open in spring and fall for about two months each season. Due to rain and the time of day I was unable to see either of these on my visit. A very nice flea market is held at Toji Temple on the 21st of every month, with lots of interesting goods. A smaller antiques market can be found there on the first Sunday of each month.
You can get to Toji Temple by walking about 15 minutes from Kyoto Station, or 5 minutes from Toji Station on the Kintetsu line. The paid area is open 8:30-17:30 (until 16:30 late September to mid-March, and admission is 500 yen or 800 yen when the pagoda is open.