Daijo-ji (Kasumi, Hyogo), Lanterns and Sanmon Gate


Artworks by Maruyama Okyo in the North of Hyogo

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Daijo-ji is a Buddhist temple of the Shingon Koyasan-shu esoteric school, located in Kasumi, a town in Kami City on the San’in coastline in the north of Japan’s Hyogo prefecture. The humble, yet charming spiritual grounds are known for its beautiful fusuma ornamented with paintings by artist Maruyama Okyo (1733 - 1795) and his disciples.

Daijo-ji temple is standing on the heights near the Yada-gawa river, that crosses Kami City south to north up to the Sea of Japan in Hyogo prefecture. Founded in 745 by Monk Gyoki (668 - 749) who was elevated to the rank of bosatsu shortly after his death, the place is affiliated to the esoteric Buddhist sect Shingon Koyasan-shu.

The place is particularly quiet, especially the temple’s inner garden and its beautiful view on a giant sacred camphor tree, which is at least 1,200 years old and surrounded by Jizo statues. The pavilions’ natural wood architecture harmoniously blends in the green lush vegetation.

Daijo-ji (Kasumi, Hyogo), Sanmon gate

Museum dedicated to the Maruyama-Shijo School

While the main attraction of the area is San'in Kaigan National Park that is spreading along a picturesque indented coastline, we recommend going slightly inland to Kasumi to discover the artworks displayed in Daijo-ji. Besides its spiritual importance, the temple is indeed worth the detour for its 165 fusuma sliding doors painted by Maruyama Okyo (1733 - 1795) and his disciples.

A popular artist of Kyoto’s area in the middle of the Edo period (1603 - 1868), Maruyama Okyo is a naturalist painter who pictured with great realism, details and poetry the traditional landscapes of Japan. He is particularly famous for his skills in drawing birds and trees like Japanese pine trees or maple 🍁 trees. One of Daijo-ji’s masterpieces is entitled "Pine Trees and Peacock" and was made using India ink (sumi-e) and gold leaves.

Daijo-ji (Kasumi, Hyogo), Fusuma painting "Pine trees and peacock" by Maruyama Okyo

Visiting the temples is like exploring a small art museum dedicated to the Maruyama-Shijo school of painting; 12 of the painter’s students have also taken part in the decoration of the fusuma. Daijo-ji is thus nicknamed Okyo-dera (Okyo’s temple) and its treasure is passionately guarded by its very knowledgeable head priest.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Daijo-ji and around.
By Kanpai Updated on June 07, 2024 Daijo-ji