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2009
09.03

similar to enryaku-ji, daigo-ji (醍醐寺) is a large complex spread out on the side of mt. kasatori (笠取山). the temple was established in 874 and is the headquarters of the daigo branch of the shingon mission.

it can take about half a day to see all of the sites at daigo-ji.  i did not see any places to buy food or drink, so bring some with you.  you can take a bus from daigo station, or you can walk due west for about 600 meters (650 yeards) if you don’t want to wait.

this is the main entrance to daigo-ji, where you will have to pay admission.  be sure to pick up a useful english pamphlet with good information and a map (not to scale).
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there are several important events every year in daigo-ji.  there’s the toyotomi hideyoshi cherry blossom viewing parade (ho-taiko hanami gyoretsu) in early april to commemorate hideyoshi for rebuilding three halls and a temple in 1598.  there’s also the godai-rikison ninno-e festival in february and manto kuyo-e on the night of august 5th during o-bon.

looking back at the entrance from inside.  beautiful trees lining the path into the base of the mountain.

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this is goju-no-to, a five-story pagoda built in 951.  this is the only original building in daigo-ji and a national treasure.  you will find that being made out of wood and due to war, weather, earthquakes, and misfortune many buildings in japan have been rebuilt.  this is one of the best and oldest pagodas in japan.

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kondo is another national treasure that was also built in the 10th century.  this building is considered the central hall in daigo-ji, where it houses the figure of yakushinyorai (healing buddha).

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i love the tiles on the roofs of old buildings in japan and other parts of asia like china.  usually the symbols inscribed on the circular tiles have special meaning.  usually a family or clan.

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at most temples in japan you will see these papers tied on to, and hanging from string.  they are prayers.  don’t be shy, you can write one in english.

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fudodo, the building, and goma-dojo, the enclosed area with a statue, a special ceremony is performed during which a fire is lit on that circular stone piece on the ground.

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the beautiful bentendo hall.  it must be an awesome sight in the fall during the fall foliage (koyo 紅葉).

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not a bad place to go for a stroll.

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