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Daigo-ji Temple.

Daigo-ji, World Heritage Site.
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.344 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Daigo-ji Temple is the headquarters of the Daigo branch of the Shingon mission. It was built by a Buddhist monk, named Shobo Rigen... more »

Tips:  Daigo-ji is open from 9am-to-5pm March to December, and 9am-to-4pm December to February.
Any-time of the year, is a good time of... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Daigo-eki (Daigo subway station).

I have started/finished this course from Daigo-eki, so as to assist you in getting to Daigo-ji Temple.There is a supermarket here, stock-up on food and drink, you will need it, if you are to ascend Kami-Daigo.

The attached video (please excuse my poor David Attenborough impersonation) is a 5-minute guide to both "Shimo-Daigo" and "Kami-Daigo".It was 9:15am and already, as you can see, it is very busy. It was a Saturday and in the middle of "Cherry Blossom" season.

3. Ticket counter.

Here you purchase your ticket(s) to enter the Daigo-ji complex. You pay a separate admittance to enter the museum, Shimo-Daigo and Kami-Daigo.

4. Sanboin Temple.

Sanboin Temple was built in 1115 by Shoka-ku, the 14th Archbishop of Daigo-ji Temple.The present Sanboin was reconstructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598.( refer to attached link on Toyotomi Hideyoshi).The Gardens, which were also designed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, represent the Momoyama Period ( 1573-1615) and is designated a "Historic Spot", and a... More

5. Reihokan (Museum).

As many as approximately 100,000-treasures, of the Daigo-ji complex, including 40,000 national treasures and important cultural assets, are preserved in the Reihokan.

6. Saidaimon (Niomon).

The Saidaimon Gate was rebuilt by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1605.The Nio Statues (temple guardians) were created by Buddhist statue creators, Seizo and Ninzo in 1134.

7. Kondo (National Treasure).

Kondo was built in 926 upon the request of Emperor Daigo. The Hall, which was called Shakako in those days, was burned down twice in the Einin (1293-1299) and Bunmei (1469-1487) Periods. The present Kondo was relocated from Yuasa Kishu, in Wakayama prefecture, at the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and completed by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1600.

8. Goju-no-to ( five-story pagoda, a National Treasure).

Emperor Suzaku, the eldest son of Emperor Daigo, started the construction of the Pagoda in 936, for the repose of Emperor Daigo's soul, and was completed in 951, during the reign of Emperor Murakami, the second-eldest son of Emperor Daigo.The pagoda is about 38-meters tall, including the approx' 13-meter sorin (pagoda final) on top of the roof.

9. Bentendo.

The Bentendo Hall is famouse for the beautiful coloured leaves in the Autumn, when Maples and Ginkgos turn red and yellow.The combination of the vermilion-laquered hall, and the pond in front, complete the beautiful scenery. Bentendo is dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvati), the goddess of knowledge and liberal arts, such as music.

10. Exit gate, from Shimo-Daigo.

You cannot re-enter Shimo-Daigo through this gate, but, on your return from Kami-Daigo, proceed through to Daigo-eki (subway station).

11. Joshinin (Nyonindo).

Joshinin is located at the starting-point of the climb to Kami-Daigo.The present hondo (main hall), commonly known as "Nyonindo", is said to have been reconstructed in the early Edo Period (1603-1868).Take note of the Enno Gyoja and Jizobosatsu statues enshrined in front of the main hall.From here it is approx' a 1-hour climb to Kami-Daigo, and,... More

12. Rest-stop.

At this point you are about half-way to Kami-Daigo. Take advantage of the shelter/seating and take a drink from the spring-water, it is very refreshing. You will need it, as your ascent gets steeper from this point.

13. Another rest-stop.

At this point you have completed the steepest part of your climb.

14. Kami-Daigo.

Welcome to Kami-Daigo. Let me assure you, before you commence your tour of the upper complex, that your ascent will be well worth it. The complex is nothing short of magnificent.The buildings, history,atmosphere and scenery will astound and amaze you. It is also an ideal spot to have lunch.

15. Daigo-Sui (the spring-water of daigo).

This is the very place of the hermitage, which Shobo Rigen - daishi built on the top of the mountain. He discovered this fountain through inspiration. You can still taste this spiritual water.

16. Kaisando Momoyama (important Cultural Asset).

This building is dedicated to Shobo Rigen-daishi, the founder of Daigo-ji. It was built in 911 by his disciple, Kanden, who was the first rural Dean of Daigo-ji. The original building was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333).The present building was restored by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1606. The hugest building, on Mt... More

17. Lunch-spot.

This is an ideal spot to take-a-break, have a bite-to-eat and rest before your descent.

18. Daigo-eki.

If you still have some spare time,and not too exhausted from you tour of Daigo-ji, may I recommend you take the subway to Rokujizo-eki. There you can connect with the J.R. train to Uji. Uji is a lovely city, and a stroll through the inner streets will be a reward for what you have just experienced.