Daikaku-ji Temple (大覚寺)

Daikaku-ji Temple
The head temple of the Shingon sect Daikaku-ji School located in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City. It is described within the main article.

A Pure Land sect temple located in Himeji City, Hyogo Prefecture.
Refer to the article 'Daikaku-ji Temple (Himeji City).'

A Tendai sect temple located in Daikakuji, Aito-cho, Echi-gun, Shiga Prefecture.

A True Pure Land sect Hongan-ji School temple located in Omasu, Ishioka City, Ibaraki Prefecture.

Daikaku-ji Temple, situated in Sagano, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto City, is the head temple of the Shingon sect Daikaku-ji School. Its honorific mountain prefix is Sagasan. Emperor Saga was the temple's kaiki (patron of a temple in its founding) and the principal objects of veneration are the Five Great Wisdom Kings centered around Fudo Myoo. The temple has a close connection to the imperial household, having been converted from Emperor Saga's villa. It is also deeply related to the political history of Japan, with Emperor Go-Uda governing from within. It is the home of the Saga Goryu school of ikebana that originated with Emperor Saga and continues to flourish today.

The temple precinct (Osawa-no-ike Pond etc.) is often used as a location for shooting films and television programs (especially period dramas).

History
At the beginning of Heian period, Emperor Saga's villa stood on this site in the northeast of Sagano. Kukai, who had the confidence of Emperor Saga, constructed a hall housing the Five Great Wisdom Kings within the emperor's villa. In the year 876, over 30 years after Emperor Saga's death, Imperial princess Masako (empress to Emperor Junna) converted the villa into Daikaku-ji Temple. Emperor Junna's son (grandson of Emperor Saga) Imperial Prince Tsunesada (Kojaku-Hosshinno, disinherited heir of Emperor Nimmyo) served as kaisan (first chief priest).

In the Kamakura period, Emperor Kameyama and the Cloistered Emperor Go-Uda entered the temple and governed from within, which led to it being called 'Saga Palace.'
The Cloistered Emperor Go-Uda became known as the 'the father of restoration' due to the great effort that he put into maintaining and repairing the monastery. The temple was named after the ancestries of Cloistered Emperor Kameyama and Go-Uda to become 'Daikakuji-to' before changing 'Jimyoin-to' after the ancestry of Emperor Go-Fukakusa. The connection between the opposition of these two imperial lines and the later split into the Northern and Southern Court period is well known. The Northern and Southern Courts period was reconciled in 1392 and the handing over of the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan from final emperor of the Southern Court, Emperor Go-Kameyama, to the final emperor of the northern court, Emperor Go-Komatsu, took place at Daikaku-ji Temple.

The temple holds a deep connection to the imperial household with successive imperial princes serving as chief priest so that, even today, it maintains the feel of an imperial palace. The site of the former imperial palace has been designated a historic site.

Monastery

Due to Daikaku-ji Temple's close ties to the imperial household, it has many buildings that have been constructed in the style of or relocated from the Imperial Court. On the center line of the central monastery, from the south, are the chokushi-mon gate (gate for imperial envoys which is a Chinese style gate); Mie-do; and Shingyo-den, to the east of Mie-do is Godai-do, to the west is Shinden, and to the north of Shinden is Shoshin-den. These buildings are connected by roofed corridors. Located at the central position of the monastery is not the main building Godai-do but rather the Shingyo-den which houses the copies of the heart sutra that have been transcribed by successive emperors including Emperor Saga.

Shinden (Important Cultural Property) - Said to be the relocated Tofukumon'in (Emperor Go-Mizunoo) 's palace. This building is in a Shinden-zukuri style with wooden lattice shutters, a hip-and-gable cypress bark roof and a broad veranda. The word 'shinden' is only used at temples in which a member of the imperial household resided and the 'shin' part of the word signifies the emperor. The interior is largely divided into 4 rooms and is particularly well-known for the sliding screens of its south 'Peony Room' which are adorned with paintings of peony flowers and those of the north 'Japanese Apricot Room' which are decorated with paintings of Japanese apricot trees with red blossoms (both by Sanraku KANO) (the original sliding screen paintings have been put into storage and the ones currently on display are reproductions). The front garden is covered in white sand with tachibana trees on the right and Japanese apricot trees on the left (those on the left are not sakura cherry trees).

Mie-do - Features a hip-and-gable roof with base tiles. It is located in the center of the monastery and serves a role like that of a haiden (worship hall) for the Shingyo-den to its north. This is the banquet hall that was used at the coronation of Emperor Taisho, which was bestowed to the temple and relocated to its current site on the 600th anniversary of the death of the Cloistered Emperor Go-Uda in 1925. The center of the interior serves as a place of worship for the Shingyo-den that stands to its north and it enshrines the statues of individuals closely related to the history of Daikaku-ji Temple such as Emperor Saga, Kobo-Daishi (Kukai), the Cloistered Emperor Go-Uda and Kojaku-Hosshinno.

Godai-do - Daikaku-ji Temple's main hall. It is located on the eastern side of the temple grounds. The structure was built between 1781 and 1789. It was initially situated at the center of the monastery (in front of Mie-do where the stone stage now sits), but was moved to its current location when the Mie-do was relocated to the monastery in 1925. The original principal objects of veneration were the Kamakura period statues of the Five Great Wisdom Kings but these have since been put into storage and the statues of the Five Great Wisdom Kings currently housed within were completed by Horin MATSUHISA and Sorin MATSUHISA in 1975. The hall is used for the transcription of sutras and Osawa-no-ike Pond can be seen from its eastern edge.

Shingyo-den - Situated north of the Mie-do. This small octagonal hall was constructed from reinforced concrete in 1925 and has Azekura-zukuri style walls. Housed within are heart sutras hand written by Emperor Saga, Emperor Go-Kogon, Emperor Go-Hanazono, Emperor Go-Nara, Emperor Ogimachi and Emperor Kokaku in addition to a statue of Yakushi Nyorai. The interior is not open to the public and the doors are only opened once every 60 years. The building is one of the nation's registered tangible cultural properties.

Shoshin-den - Designated an Important Cultural Property under the name 'kyakuden' (guest hall). The Shoin-zukuri style building was constructed during the Momoyama Period and is divided into 12 rooms. The room named 'Jodan-no-ma' (Okanmuri-no-ma (chamber of the crown)) has a throne and is a recreation of the room from which Emperor Go-Uda governed. The partition paintings were done by Sanraku KANO and Shiko WATANABE.

Reimei-den - Was originally the main building of Nichibutsu-ji Temple constructed in Tokyo's Numabukuro (now Numabukuro, Nakano Ward) by Prime Minister Makoto SAITO in 1928. It was relocated to its current site in 1958 by Daikaku-ji Temple's head priest Kusanagi Zengi. The entire building is coated in vermillion lacquer right down to the veranda boards and it enshrines a statue of Amida Nyorai.

Kihinkan - This building was originally constructed in 1923 in Kasumigaseki Rikyu at Togu Palace (present day Diet Building front garden) temporary residence as the court of Chichibu-no-Miya. It was relocated to Daikaku-ji Temple in 1971. It is not open to the public.

Teikokan - Built as a rest area on the bank of Osawa-no-ike Pond during the mid Edo period and relocated in 1868. It is not open to the public.

In addition, small halls including Goma-do, Dainichi-do, Shoten-do and Gosha Myojin surround Osawa-no-ike Pond on the eastern side of the monastery, with others such as Shingyo-hoto (Tahoto) having been built in 1967.

Osawa-no-ike Pond & Nakoso-no-taki Rapids
Osawa-no-ike Pond, said to have been constructed by Emperor Saga, is based on China's Lake Dongting, and this pond that still reflects the Chinese Tang Dynasty style culture of the time was designated a scenic spot as a National Cultural Property in 1923 along with the 'Nakoso-no-taki Rapids' approximately 100 m north of the pond. It is known as being an artificial lake created by using terrain that gently slopes to the southeast and building a long bank running from south to east which serves to dam the flow from the northwest.
一原文一訳文の例外対処
With its traces of the early Heian period, it is thought to be the oldest garden pond in Japan. According to the excavation survey that began in 1981, it is now presumed that, although these two stones are in their original locations, all of the other stones were later placed intentionally. It is also understood from the survey that an almost unlined meandering channel had been excavated south of the waterfall that feeds into Osawa-no-ike Pond and that this is a shallow, curving garden stream had been created by imitating a natural flow. When Emperor Saga abdicated and used the opportunity to move from his mansion named 'Reizeiin' to his new mansion, he expanded the channel to approximately 12 m at its widest and 1 m at its deepest. While carrying out this expansion work, he assembled rocks and reconfigured the channel to control the water level at the end of the flow, which resulted in the water course becoming completely dammed and causing it to pool as a pond. From this stage, he began a period of modification in which he decreased the quantity of water supplied and eventually filled in the channel leading out of the pond. He then constructed a low bank perpendicular to the direction of the flow in which he laid a belt-shaped stone bed while adding an ornamental stone in the west of the site. This drastically dammed the water course and caused extensive filling which overflowed and fed into Osawa-no-ike Pond.

Cultural Properties

National Treasures

Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Gotein Yuigo - 'Shinkan' means handwriting documents by the Emperor. This manuscript was written by Emperor Go-Uda (who abdicated and became a monk) to serve as a last will and testament describing his wishes for the prosperity of Daikaku-ji Temple and also includes his actual hand-prints on the pages.

Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Kobo-Daishi Den - The biography of Kobo-Daishi was written by Emperor Go-Uda himself, who was devoted to Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, in 1315.

Important Cultural Properties

Shoshin-den (kyakuden)
Shinden
Color on silk portrait of the Five Great Akasagarbha
Color on silk portrait of Emperor Go-Uda
Color on paper portrait of Emperor Go-Uda
Color on paper portrait of Emperor Go-Uda
116 Daikaku-ji Temple partition paintings (additional 122)
Wooden standing statue of the wisdom king Kundali/statue of Yamantaka
5 wooden statues of the Five Great Wisdom Kings
Engraved long sword
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Shittan Injin Kuketsu (2 books)/Shittan Injinbun (5 books)
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Osashihyo Kuketsu
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Kanjo Immyo (6 books)
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Kanjo Shichu (1st of 2 volumes, postscript 1314)
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Goma Kuketsu
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Dembo Kanjo Saho
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Dembo Kanjo Shogoya Kuyoho Shidai (2 books)
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Hoju Sho
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Takao Mandala goshufukuki dated the 19th day of the 1st month of 1309
Go-Uda Tenno (Emperor Go-Uda) Sinkan Denryusho Mokuroku narabini Zensuke Shosoku (3 papers and 1 book)
Kongokai Dembo Kanjo Saho
Kesain written by Zensuke
Kujakukyo Ongi (3 books - first, middle and last volumes)
Hisho (128 books) - 23 compilations
Go-Fukakusa Tenno (Emperor Go-Fukakusa) Sinkan Shosoku (signed the 6th day of the 3rd month 1300)
Hanazono Tenno (Emperor Hanazono) Shinkan Shoshoku dated the 25th day of the 7th month.

Access

Take the Kyoto City Bus/Kyoto Bus to Daikakuji and walk for 2 minutes.