Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto

Daigo-ji Temple, a World Heritage Site, was founded in 874 during the early Heian period and named in honor of Emperor Daigo, who entered the Buddhist priesthood there after abdicating. Daigo-ji is located in the southeastern Fushimi district, and the temple grounds stretch from the foot of Mount Daigo, past Bentendo Hall and its picturesque pond, to the mountain’s summit. The venerable temple possesses eighteen National Treasures, including an exquisite five-story pagoda, built in 951, that is the oldest wooden structure in Kyoto.

Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto Photo Gallery



The eminently powerful warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), oversaw a restoration of Daigo-ji’s subsidiary Sanbo-in Temple in 1598, creating a showpiece garden containing more than 700 carefully selected and artfully placed stones. The obsessively pristine garden of Sanbo-in, watched over by a vocal platoon of sharp-eyed attendants still worthy of any feudal lord, is especially gorgeous from any angle. A first glimpse can take one’s breath away, and stepping back for a wider view only reveals more aesthetically pleasing details—another graceful bridge, another perfectly sculpted pine. The lower garden at Sanbo-in is more relaxed and less regimented and it is possible here to actually stroll amidst a pastel explosion of cherry blossoms in the early spring.

Novice monks sweep the entrance to their school at Denpo Gakuin.

The elegant Goju-no-To Pagoda was built in 951.

The ethereal Bentendo Hall in the lower Shimo-Daigo precinct.

A tsukubai tableau of stone basin, bamboo ladle, and aromatic Chinese quince at Sambo-in.

The lower strolling garden at Sambo-in. The Teien Garden’s hundreds of distinctive rocks were each painstakingly selected, centuries ago.

Sambo-in and its garden are legacies of the 16th-century warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

A stone relief Fudo Myo guardian deity.

A log-and-earth bridge covered with luxuriant moss is used only by Sambo-in gardeners.

Silky waterfalls at the Bentendo Hall’s garden pond.
Source: Travels Finders

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