Daigoji temple in Kyoto has such a huge precinct covering the whole area of Daigosan mountain as one of the largest temples of the prefecture. The gorgeous structure of Daigoji includes more than 80 buildings lying scattered in both top and bottom of the mountain, leading to the recognition of UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Daigoji is also well known for its cherry blossom. Not a simple cherry beauty just popular around Japan, Daigoji temple has saved a long story about cherry viewing culture remarked by the huge and lavish cherry viewing party Daigo no hanami held in 1598 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It is how hundred cherry trees were born inside the precinct of the temple including Sanboin Garden and Reihokan Hall Museum. For many years, all these 800 cherry trees in Daigoji has fully bloomed every spring in memory this memorable party.
In about 874, a Buddhist monk Shobo followed the god Yokoo Daimyojin to find a well of spiritual water on the top of Kamidaigo mountain then constructed a hermitage to enshrine Kannon statues of Juntei and Nyoirin. After that, Daigoji received the continuous support from emperors namely Daigo, Suzaku or Murakami to open its scale during 900s, leading to the construction of the Sakyamuni hall in 926 and the five-storied pagoda in 951. The temple enjoyed its flourishing time as it had a close relationship with powerful politicians, serving as the main temple of Shingon school Ono branch, before immersing in fire of civil wars like others in Kyoto.
The Five storied pagoda is considered as the symbol of Daigoji. Built in 951, the pagoda called Gojonoto is proud to be the oldest of its kind across Japan. The pointed roof of the pagoda breaks the air at the height of 38 meters, printing a clear shape of time in blue sky of some fine spring day, beside tears of purple cherry blossom falling. More than 100 thousand treasures of the temple are preserved inside Reikohan. In spring, the dusty doors of Reihokan will open to display the most valuable exhibitions of the temple in fresh and cool breeze of spring full of gentle cherry scent. Exhibitions are also held in autumn. An other beautiful part of Daigoji is the Main Drawing Room, also called Omote Shoin. The unique building with veranda surrounding detached room looks towards the garden, just like an thoughtful old man. There is a building with a thatched roof, called Junjokan in the east side of the building.
Not only cherry blossom in spring, Daigoji stays beautifully throughout year by luxuriant forest of cedar, cypress and red pine in summer, colorful foliage of maple, ginkgo, clethra and konara in autumn and charming blooming plum in late winter.
Take a 5 minute ride from JR Kyoto Station on JR Biwako Line to Yamashina Station then take a 10 minute ride to Daigo station on Kyoto Shiei Subway Tozai then take a 10 minute walk