Daigo-ji Temple (醍醐寺)

Daigo-ji Temple is a head temple of the Daigo-ha branch of Shingon Buddhism, in Daigo Higashioji, Fushimi Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture. It is also called Mt. Daigo (or Mt. Miyuki). It venerates Yakushi, and was founded by Rigen-daishi Shobo. As a part of the Cultural Assets of Ancient City Kyoto, it is a registered World Heritage Site. The temple has extensive grounds of over 6.6 million sq.m. on Mt. Daigo (Mt. Kasatori) in the east side of Fushimi Ward. It is known as the place where Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's "Daigo Flower Viewing" was held.


Daigo-ji Temple was built in 874, when Rigen-daishi Shobo, a 2nd generation disciple of Kukai, placed Juntei Kannon and Nyoirin Kannon on top of Mt. Kasatori and named the area around the peak "Mt. Daigo".

Deep in the mountains and centered around the peak of Mt. Daigo (this area is called "Upper Daigo"), at first Daigo-ji Temple developed as a sacred site for ascetics, later growing into Daigaran (large monastery), "Lower Daigo", on the broad, flat land at the foot of Mt. Daigo thanks to the overwhelming support of Emperor Daigo, who decided to make it his place for prayer.

Later on Lower Daigo was ruined in the Onin war and many other battles, leaving only the Goju-no-to (5-story pagoda). However, thanks to the relocation of temple buildings from Kishu and construction of Sanboin for Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's Daigo Flower Viewing, it has taken on the appearance we see today.

In the summer of 1939, the Kyozo (scripture repository) and other isolated buildings were all lost during a short period due to a wildfire that struck Upper Daigo.

Some plaster of the Goju-no-to (5-story pagoda) and the Kondo (main hall) fell off in the Kobe Earthquake on January 17, 1995.

Garan (Monastery)

Upper and Lower Daigo are separated by a steep mountain path, requiring about an hour to walk between them.

Lower Daigo

Centered around the Kondo (main hall) and Sanboin, where Yakushi Nyorai statues are installed, the magnificent Daigaran (monastery) contrasts with Upper Daigo. However, Lower Daigo's splendid Garan (monastery) burned down in the Onin War, and has since been burned and rebuilt several more times; but the Goju-no-to (5-story pagoda) miraculously stands in front of the Goma-dojo today just as it did when it was first built. The paintings on the inside walls of the Goju-no-to (5-story pagoda) are designated National Treasures; and the portrait of Kukai is the oldest extant painting of him.

Saidai-Mon Gate
Kondo (Main hall, National Treasure) -The current building was the main hall from Kishu Yuasa (a temple built for the Monk-Emperor Go-Shirakawa in the latter half of the 12th century), which was moved and rebuilt in 1599, at the request of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI.

Goju-no-to (5-Story Pagoda, National Treasure) _ Built by Emperor Suzaku in Tenryaku 5 (951) to pray for the happiness of departed Emperor Daigo, it is the only original building left at Daigo-ji Temple.

Seiryu-gu Main Hall (Important Cultural Property) – Built in Keicho 4 (1599)

Bentendo - Built on the northeast coast of Rinsen in Showa 5 (1930)

Auditorium – Built in Showa 5 (1930)

Nyonindo (Women's Temple)

Upper Daigo

The 11th temple of the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage, it is known as the steepest one in Saigoku. Because the temple used to be off limits to women, the Nyonindo (women's temple) was placed at the bottom of the path; starting there, the Yakushido (a National Treasure, and still as it was in the Heian period), the Haiden (worship hall, National Treasure) for Daigo-ji's guardian deity Seiryu-gongen, the Junteido and the Godaido are lined up on the steep mountain. In addition to the famous Daigo Water that still springs forth on Upper Daigo, the Nyoirindo (Important Cultural Property), the Kaisando (Important Cultural Property) and the Hakusan Daigongen are to be found on the peak of Mt. Daigo (altitude 450m). The Oku-no-in (inner sanctum) is situated between the peak and Mt. Kasatori.

Seiryu-gu Haiden (Worship Hall, National Treasure) - Rebuilt in Eikyo 6 (1434), Seiryu-gu is a shrine to a guardian deity of esoteric Buddhism which Kobo-daishi (Kukai) brought from Qinglong Temple in Chang-an, Tang China.

Yakushido (National Treasure) – Rebuilt over 5 years beginning in Hoan 2 (1121), it was first built by Rigen-daishi (Shobo) around Engi 7 (907) at the request of Emperor Daigo.

Daigo Water - This sacred spring is said to have been the source of the name of Daigo-ji Temple, after Shobo had an epiphany there.

Junteido – Built by Shobo along with the Nyoirindo, it is the 11th temple in the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.

Godaido – Opened by Shobo as a place to pray for the protection of the nation.

Nyoirindo (Upper Daigo) _ Rebuilt by Hideyori TOYOTOMI in Keicho 11 (1606), its construction is attributed to Rigen-daishi (Shobo), the same as the Junteido. Kaisando (Upper Daigo) _ Rebuilt along with the Nyoirindo by Hideyori TOYOTOMI in Keicho 11 (1606), a seated statue of Rigen-daishi (Shobo) is installed in Zushi (miniature shrine) in its sanctuary.

Annual Activities

One of Daigo-ji Temple's major activities is the Segaki memorial service, which centers around the magnificent outdoor bonfire Saito-Goma, originated by the Daigo-ha sect, held in August; in February at the Godairikison Ninnoe festival the temple burns the same Saito-Goma bonfire and praise the virtuous deeds of the Godai Myoo; that festival is famous for the contest of strength, in which participants lift a giant Kagami mochi (rice cake) of nearly 150kg. Also in April, the whole mountain is opened up for cherry blossom viewing, in honor of Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI's Daigo Flower Viewing.

National Treasures

Kondo (Main Hall)
Goju-no-to (5-Story Pagoda)
Seiryu-gu Haiden (Worship Hall, Upper Daigo)
Yakushido (Upper Daigo)
Sanboin Karamon Gate – Built in 1599
Sanboin Omote-Shoin
Color on Silk Image of Godaison
Color on Silk Monjutokai-zu
Color on Silk Image of Kariteimo
Color on Silk Image of Enmaten
Goju-no-to Shojuhekiga (Color on Wood) 18 Panels
Color on Paper Eingakyo
Wooden Statues of Yakushi Nyorai and Flanking Samurai (formerly installed in the Upper Daigo Yakushido)
Writings/Books, Ancient Documents
Dainichikyokaidai – Written by Kobo-daishi
Toryu Shoryu Kyokai by Emperor Go-Uda (3 letters)
Tencho Injin by Emperor Go-daigo (Rousen wax paper)
Tatage-no-fumite Houkenhyo – Attributed to Kobo-daishi
Letter of Disposition from Rigen-daishi

Important Cultural Properties

Seiryu-gu Main Hall
Nyoirindo (Upper Daigo)
Kaisando (Upper Daigo)
Sanboin Dendo (Entry Hall, Imperial Messenger's Chamber/Akigusa Chamber/Aoi Chamber, Priest's Quarters, Shinden, Junjokan, Gomado)
Sanboin Hokyointo

Color on Silk Image of Amida Sanson
Color on Silk Image of Dainichi Kinrin (Designated an Important Cultural Property in 1902, 98.2x60.9cm)
Color on Silk Image of Dainichi Kinrin (Designated an Important Cultural Property in 1941, 96.4x83.3cm)
Color on Silk Image of Kokuzo Bosatsu
Color on Silk Image of Jizo Bosatsu
Color on Silk Image of Fugen Enmei
Color on Silk Image of Miroku Bosatsu
Image of Taigenho Honzon (Color on Silk Image of Taigen Myoo (36-armed, 8-armed, 4-armed), 3 scrolls: Image of Bishamonten, Shaka Mandara-zu, Kokuzo Mandara-su)
Color on Silk Image of Aizen Myoo
Color on Silk Image of Kongoyasha Myoo
Color on Silk Image of Daiitoku Myoo
Color on Silk Image of Gohimitsu
Sumi Ink on Paper Image of Fudo Myoo – 5 scrolls
Sumi Ink on Paper Image of Mikkyozu – 39 items
Color on Silk Landscape - 6-Panel Folding Screen
Color on Silk Ninnokyo Mandara-zu
Color on Silk Hannya Bosatsu Mandara-zu
Color on Silk Miroku Mandara-zu
Color on Silk Ryokai Mandara-zu
Color on Silk Rokujikyo Mandara-zu
Konken Kondei Rokujikyo Mandara-zu
Color on Paper Jukkan-sho (Replica of vol. 10)
Color on Gold Background Senmen Chirashi-zu - Attributed to Tawaraya Sotatsu, 2-panel Folding Screen
Color on Gold Background Bugaku-zu By Tawaraya Sotatsu 2-panel Folding Screen
Color on Paper Choba-zu 6-panel Folding Screen
Sumi Ink on Paper Roko-zu - By Tawaraya Sotatsu (2-Sided Screen)

Wooden Statues of Yakushi Nyorai and Flanking Samurai (Installed in Kondo, Main Hall)
Bronze Seated Statue of Amitabha Tathagata
Wooden Seated Statue of Amitabha Tathagata
Wooden Standing Statue of Sho Kannon
Wooden Standing Statue of Senju Kannon
Wooden Seated Statue of Nyoirin Kannon
Wooden Standing Statue of Jizo Bosatsu
Wooden Seated Statue of Miroku Bosatsu - By Kaikei (Installed in Sanboin Main Hall)
Wooden Statue of Enmaten
Wooden Standing Statue of Kisshoten
Wooden Standing Statue of Kongorishiki (At Saidai-mon Gate) - Constructed in 1134
Wooden Statue of Taishakuten Kizo
Wooden Statue of Godai Myoo
Wooden Seated Statue of Fudo Myoo By Kaikei
Wooden Seated Statue of Fudo Myoo
Wooden Statue of Daiitoku Myoo (Installed in Upper Daigo, Godaido) with Wooden Statues of Fudo Myoo, Gozanze Myoo, Gundari Myoo, and Kongo Yasha Myoo
Wooden Seated Statue of Rigen-daishi (Installed in Kaisando)

Craft Works
Brass Buddhist Altar Fittings (Nyoi, Kyukosho, Gokorei, Kongoban)
Brass Ryokai Mandala
Stone Lantern
Senkoku Amida Gobutsu Kyozo
Senkoku Nyoirin Kannon Kyozo
Tokinrinbo Katsu Mamon Kaitaibako
Ikakeji Raden Sessobako - One Set
Raden Nyoi

Writings/Books, Ancient Documents

Jomyokyo Shicchu Scroll No. 9
Konshikondei Hannya Shingyo - Written by Emperor Go-Nara
Kujakukyo-ongi - Shinjaku Hosshinno Collection, 3 books
Shojiengi - 18 books
Tarayo-ki - Shinkaku Collection, 3 books
Daito Saiiki-ki Scrolls 11, 12
Bussei Biku Rokumotsu-zu
Hokekyo Shakubun - Chuzan Collection, 3 books
Rishukyo - By Takauji ASHIKAGA
Chu-Agonkyo - Scroll 14 Dialogue Fragments, Scroll 7
Shittanjibo (Tobikumogami Kinginhaku Chirashi Ryoshi)
Zuifutsunenju Yoketsu - By Junyu (the monk)
Shoryoshu - Hojo-Jugo Epilogue, 10 books
Bodai Shogon Darani, Muku Joko Konpon Darani, Issai Nyorai Shin Himitsu Zenshin Hokyo Darani, Senju-sengen Darani, Amida Dai-shingon - 1 scroll
Sohan Issaikyo - 6,096 books

Daigo Hanami Tanzaku - By Hideyoshi TOYOTOMI and Guests, 131pages
Daigo Zojiki - Scroll 7
Daigo Zojiki - Keien-ki, 15 books
Daigo Konpon Sojo Ryakuden
Daigo-ji Temple Shin-Yoroku - In Gien's own writing, 22 books
Daigo-ji Temple Shogyorui - 16,441 items
Todai-ji Temple Yoroku Scrolls 1, 2
Honchomonzui - Scroll 6 Fragment
Kobo-daishi's Will in 25 Articles
Gien Jugo Nikki - 62 books
Kenshun Nikki - 2 books
Mansai Jugo Nikki - 38 folds
Gokanjo Gofuju by Emperor Go-Uda
Sogo-cho (February 21, Engi 8: Shobo, Kangen, etc. listed)
Tonan-in Inshubo Kisho (February 13, Engi 7)
Daigo-ji Temple Documents - 16,403 items

Cultural Properties Lost to Fire

(Former) Godaido (Upper Daigo) - Former National Treasure
It burned down on April 3, Showa 7 (1932), when the Goma fire spread to the roof.

Kyozo (Scripture Repository, Upper Daigo) - Former National Treasure
Burned down on August 29, Showa 14 (1939), when a wildfire jumped onto it.

Educational Institutions

Gozan Denpo Gakuin

Shuchiin University (Jointly Operated)

Rakunan High School/Junior High School (Jointly Operated)


Daigo-ji Temple Cultural Properties Research Center

Reihokan (Sacred Treasure Hall)

About the Surrounding Area

Hokai-ji Temple
Hino-tanjoin Temple
Ichigon-ji Temple
Kayao-jinja Shrine
Emperor Daigo Nochi no Yamashina no Misasagi
Zuishinin Temple
Bukkoin Temple
Kaju-ji Temple


Take Keihan Bus route 22, 22A, 24, or 24A from Yamashina Station (JR, Keihan, Subway) and get off at Daigo Sanboin.

10 minutes' walk from Daigo Subway Station, or take Daigo Community Bus #4 to Daigoji-mae.

Take Keihan Bus route 22, 22A, 24, or 24A from Rokujizo Station (Keihan, JR, Subway), and get off at Daigo Sanboin.

Nearby Temples
Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage
10: Mimuroto-ji Temple 11: Daigo-ji Temple 12: Shoho-ji Temple (Otsu City)

[Original Japanese]