This time I want to introduce you a temple named Daikakuji-Temple which is located in “Arashiyama district” need to go about 30min-45min west by train or bus from central Kyoto.
“Arashiyama District” is a very popular place for Japanese travelers too. Several pleasant sightseeing spots are gathering in the composed atmosphere. Particularly, it is popular and crowded during the Autumn red leaves season and spring cherry blossom season.
Photo : Entrance gate(玄関門)

This Temple belongs to the Shingon Buddhist Group and is the head temple of daikakuji sect of Shingon Buddhism group.

More About(詳細)

This temple was first constructed as the residence of Sagano Emperor(ascend the throne in 809) and Danrin Empress when they got married. The residence was named “Sagain-Detached palace”. In 849 the grand son of Sagano Emperor converted the palace as a temple and this was the start of Daikakuji. Most of the architecture was vanished in 1468 because of the Onin War destruction. After,during 1624-1644 most of the architecture was rebuilt.

This temple is made by “Shinden-zukuri” which is a architectural style of Heian-era(794-1192) noble residence,which connects the main hall and other buildings with a long corridor. This extent can hardly be seen within all over Japan. The corridor is named “Passing shower corridor” likening the corridor bent in a right angle as a Thunder, and also likening the row of thin pillars as a rush of rain.
Photo : Passing Shower corridor(村雨の廊下)


In this temple, a Heart Sutra is housed in Shinkyo-den which was written by Saga Emperor though opened to public only once in 60 years.Saga Emperor wrote this Heart Sutra in 818 to stop the spread of plaque. He was advised to write this Heart Sutra by Kukai the founder of Shingon-Buddist-group, which still holds 12000 temples and 13 million believer in present Japan.

Photo : Shinkyo-den(心経殿)

Furthermore Daikakuji-temple is the birthplace of “Ikebana” (Japanese Flower Arrangement). It is said that Ikebana has started when Saga Emperor arranged a chrysanthemum at the time he created a “Garden pond” named “Oosawa pond” which is the oldest which exists.また、大覚寺は生花発祥の地であり、嵯峨天皇が現存する日本最古の庭池「大沢池」を作庭した際に、野菊を生けたことがはじまりと言われております。

Photo : Oosawa Pond(大沢池)
Photo : Ikebana(生花)


This is my Evaluation of visiting “Daikakuji Temple” thinking whether it would be a worthy place to visit for foreign travelers. I want travelers to visit and use the limited time, where both Foreign travelers and Japanese feels worthy to go and attractive. So hereunder, I am writing a evaluation from two different point of view. The first is Foreign Travelers point of view, and the second is Japanese point of view. Please mind that this evaluation is just my point of view.

See the page Evaluation Definition for the evaluation standard.

"Daikakuji-Temple " Evaluation from Foreign Travelers point of view

Evaluation(評価) Comment(コメント)
TOTAL(総合)AYou must go by all means.
SURPRISE(驚き・新鮮さ)A The magnificence of the temple and the refreshing atmosphere would move your heart. Further more, the unique collider and the elegant atmosphere which is produced from the deep tie with the imperial family will impress you a lot.
FEEL JAPAN(日本らしさ)A+This temple is often used for a historical play film shooting spot. The reason must be that this place is where you can feel the ancient Japanese atmosphere the most.
NOT CROWDED(混み具合)BThis temple is not so crowded in comparison to places which is as famous as this temple. This is because Daikakuji-temple holds a broad ground and also the location is a bit far from the station. You can enjoy the atmosphere, without rushing.
PROUD(自慢できる)BThe temple is not a world heritage site, though it is very famous with a long history.

"Daikakuji-Temple " Evaluation from Japanese point of view

Total(総合のみ)A+Seeing from Japanese point of view, it is a fantastic temple which you can feel the magnificence and elegance at the superlative degree. It is relatively not crowded in comparison to places as famous as it.

Photo : Main Hall(本堂)
Daikakuji Main Hall



■ Open times : 9:00-17:00(Entry stop 16:30)
■ Cost : Adult(&University Students) ¥500 Students ¥300
■ Google maps

Photo : Goeido (hall dedicated to the sect founder)(御影堂)