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Kyoto: Daigoji (Temple)

Located at 22 Higashioji-cho, Daigo, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto City in Kyoto prefecture, Daigoji (Temple) (醍醐寺) is one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Kyoto.

Daigoji was founded by Rigen-daishi who is also known as Master Shobo in 874. The temple was piously supported by Emperor Daigo and so when he fell ill and abdicated in 930, he entered as a monk taking the Buddhist name Ho-kongo here. Sadly, he passed away shortly after at the age of 46 and was buried in the temple vicinity. Before his death he ordered the construction of several halls in the vicinity such as Yakushi Hall. The next two Emperors, Suzaku, and Murakami, also piously supported the temple which laid the foundations for Daigoji's perpetual preservation. 

Had fun with this "album cover" pose

Due to its very long history, numerous structures and objects including the Kondo and its five-story pagoda are marked as National Treasures and hundreds of items are marked as Cultural Assets. The biggest honor probably conferred to Daigoji was when it was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1994.
Check out the manhole cover in Daigoji

The Daigoji (temple) complex is divided into three areas. These are the Sanboin Area, Reihokan Area, and the main temple complex. Just a heads up, visitors need to pay a fee to enter each area. You can check it out here below:

Combined Ticket (Normal Period)
Senior High/Junior High School Students600yen
*Admission is free for primary school students
GroupAdults 20 or more700yen
Children 20 or more500yen
*Normal Period・・・Admission outside of Spring and Autumn Period
Combined Ticket (Spring & Autumn Period)
Senior High/Junior High School Students1000yen
*Admission is free for primary school students
GroupAdults 20 or more1300yen
Children 20 or more800yen

The three areas are as follows:

Sanboin Garden
Kameshima (the small island in the middle of the pond)

Karamon (a National Treasure)

The Sanboin Area is composed of the Sanboin garden, Omote-Shoin,  and the Hondo. This area functions as the heart of Daigoji that serves as the main residence of head priests. The Sanboin was established in 1115 by the 14th head priest Shokaku. The present-day Sanboin was refurbished in 1598 for the Daigo-no-Hanamo (cherry blossom viewing) party of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The garden was designed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi himself and is designated as an Important Cultural Asset. 

Butsuzoto (You can check out the statues here)

Another area of Daigoji is the Reihokan Area. It opened in 1935. This area is where the Reihokan (museum) is located. It houses the precious collection of Buddhist statues, paintings, and applied arts are stored. Some of these are displayed to the public in spring and fall. Sadly, visitors are not allowed to take photos inside the Reihokan to protect these treasures.

Seirugu Honden (Important Cultural Asset)

Seiryugu Haiden
The bell tower in front of the Kondo
Kondo ( National Treasure)

Fudodo and the Goma-dojo image in front of it

Inside the Soshido

Bentendo (Important Cultural Asset)
Inside Restaurant Juan

Lastly, is the Temple Complex Area. It is the largest of the three areas. One can enter it via the Saidaimon or Niomon. Nature lovers would truly love the atmosphere of this area. Several meters away from the Niomon is the Kondo which is Daigoji's main hall and is a National Treasure. In front of the Kondo is the Goju-no-to also known as the five-storey pagoda of Daigoji. It is also a National Treasure. Further eastward is the Daikodo and the very picturesque Bentendo which is an Important Cultural Asset.

We surely had fun exploring this historic place. 
Daigoji goshuin 
Daikodo goshuin

My family and I got to visit Daigoji during the 4th day of our 22-day adventure in Japan.  This temple was also the first temple that we visited in Kyoto City. Overall, I loved the mix of culture, history, and nature in Daigoji. For food lovers, I highly suggest that you visit Restaurant Juan on the far eastern side of the temple complex. It offers a must try a selection of Japanese cuisines. Aside from that, it is also near the picturesque Bentendo. Overall, I highly suggest that you find time to visit this temple when you are in Kyoto. 

Getting there:

-Daigoji is 10 minutes walk away from the Daigoji Exit of the Subway Tozai Line.
-You can also ride a Keihan Bus #22 or 22A then board down at Daigoji-mae stop.
-Another option is to ride the Keihan Bus Yamashina Express Line to Daigoji stop.


Overall rating


  1. We will be visiting Japan soon, cant wait!

  2. Wow - these pictures are incredible, what an amazing spot and overall adventure you must have had in Japan for so long - incredible and thanks for sharing in such good detail!

  3. I would definitely add Daigoji to temples that i wanna go to. Images pictures beautiful experience you had in Kyoto with family.

  4. Amazing temple. Hope you had fun with your family on your journey. Just a general question are there hotels or guest house close to the temple? Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. We had so much fun. 5 days in Kyoto was really not enough.

  5. Wow, such a beautiful part of Kyoto's history and culture. Would love to explore the its premises and click the beautiful architecture by myself.

  6. It is an amazing trip to Kyoto! Although I had been to Kyoto , what you wrote in this blog were fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Wow I love all the beautiful colors, you caption it so well!


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