Daigo-ji is made of several buildings, some of which even cover whole sections of the mountain, including its summit. The complex was built during Heian period (874) by Rigen-Daishi. The retired emperor Daigo lived his last days here as a Buddhist monk, and his grave is said to be in the temple precincts.
The 40-meter-high five-stories pagoda, the main hall known as kondo, and several other buildings are National Treasures of Japan. There are no fewer than 18 National Treasures at Daigoji (including buildings and works of art) and dozens of works deemed "Important Cultural Properties." Most of them are gathered in the area called Shimo Daigo. The current buildings were re-established in the 16th century (1599). The sitting statue of Yakushi, the Buddha provider of physical and spiritual healing and protection from disasters, can also be found in the area.
Kondo was built in 926. In the same Shimo Daigo area stands a five-storied pagoda. This pagoda, built in 951, is one of the oldest buildings in the Kyoto area. It is also the only building
of the temple complex to have withstood time and the Japanese civil wars, especially the 15th-century Onin War arsons. Last but not least is the Bentendo. The Bentendo building is a popular spot in fall when the surrounding maple trees’ leaves turn a beautiful red. Finally, history lovers can visit Reihokan Museum, located in an elegant house. It offers a large collection of ancient documents and objects, such as paintings and statues.
With the picturesque cherry blossoms blooming in the museum’s garden, spring is definitely the best season to visit Daigo-ji temple. While not overcrowded with tourists outside the blooming season, it is still a must-see place.
How to get to Daigo-ji
By Subway -- Tozai Line, Daigo Station then 10~15 minutes on foot
By Bus -- Keihan 22 ou 22A, stop at Daigoji or Daigoji-mae
By Taxi -- Adress: 22 Higashioji-cho, Daigo, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto 601-1325 (tel. 075-571-0002)
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
¥600 (~US$ 5.40) for each area: Sanboin, Garan, Daigoji / Reihokan or Kami-Daigo
Combined tickets (only for Sanboin, Garan, Daigoji / Reihokan): ¥1,500 (~US$ 13.40)
Reduced price for children and students
Reduced price off season (summer and winter)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
In Summer (from March, 1rst to first Sunday of December):
- Sanboin, Garan (Kondo, pagoda), Daigoji / Reihokan : 9am-5pm
- Kami-Daigo : 9am-4pm
In Winter (from Monday following the first Sunday of December to the end of February):
- Sanboin, Garan (Kondo, pagoda) : 9am-4pm
- Daigoji / Reihokan : 9am-5pm
- Kami-Daigo : 9am-3pm
Last admission 30 minutes before the closing hour
How long / when to visit
Allow half a day for the visit