The Bentendo Hall at Daigo-Ji Temple

Daigo-Ji Temple

Daigo-Ji (醍醐寺) is an important temple of the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism and a designated Unesco world heritage site. The large temple complex stands southeast of central Kyoto and includes an entire mountainside. The main temple grounds are located at the base of the mountain. There are several more temple buildings around the summit, connected by hiking trail.

After entering the main temple grounds, we first came across the Sanboin, the elegant former residence of the head priest, which was originally constructed in 1115. The current building, along with its outstanding landscape garden dates to 1598 when it was reconstructed and expanded for Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s famous cherry blossom viewing party held here. The building remains an excellent example of extravagant Momoyama architecture and should not be missed. Unfortunately, photos are not allowed.

After this first part, we continue our way to the Benten Pond (above photo), its elegant arched bridge and a vermillon red shrine. The view of this pond is always beautiful, but it becomes something really special with the Autumn foliage or the cherry blossom.

The five-storey pagoda at Daigoji temple was built in 951 and is the oldest standing building in Kyoto. It was one of few buildings to survive the Onin War in the 15th century.

Visiting Daigo-Ji Temple takes about half a day, just outside the city. It is quite easy to get there by train.