Daitoku-ji (大徳寺) is a large temple complex located in the north-west of Kyoto. Several of the most beautiful zen gardens are located here, such as Ryogen-in (龍源院), Zuiho-in (瑞峯院) and Koto-in (高桐院). Kyoto has three other major temple complexes that should not be missed: Tofukuji (東福寺), Myoshin-ji (妙心寺) and Nanzen-ji (南禅寺).
Daitoku-ji was founded in the early 14th century by priest Shuho Myocho. Shuho converted emperor Hanazono to zen, which allowed Daitoku-ji to prosper under imperial patronage. In the 15th century the buildings were almost completely destroyed by fire. A zen priest with influence restored the temple under patronage from a rich merchant from Osaka and... a poet. At that time, Daitoku-ji consisted only in the core buildings: the hojo (the abbot's quarters), the main hall, the gate and a few other minor annexes. In the middle of the 16th century, feudal lords (call daimyo) started to build sub-temples within the precinct of Daitoku-ji, thus increasing the size and importance of the temple considerably. During 200 years (until the 18th century), about 80 sub-temples were built! Unfortunately, the Meiji restoration and its anti-Buddhist policy led to the destruction of most of the buildings; today only about 20 survive, all "important cultural property" or "national treasure" of Japan.
Although Daitoku-ji has about 22 sub-temples, only a few are visitable, and of those photography is only allowed in a handful. You may be able to visit some sub-temples that are normally closed to the public if you visit Daitoku-ji during the high season or at the time of a special event.
Recommended for: Access:
Kōro-an Tea House
Nearby: Imamiya-jinja 今宮神社 (380m), Takeisao-jinja 建勲神社 (460m), Jobonrendai-ji 上品蓮台寺 (690m), Myōren-ji 妙蓮寺 (990m), Shōzen-ji 招善寺 (1km), Honpō-ji 本法寺 (1.1km), Shakuzo-ji 石像寺 (1.1km), Uhō-in 雨宝院 (1.2km)
Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kansai, 関西, Kinki, 近畿, Kyoto, 京都, 北区, northern, north, 大徳寺, Daitoku-ji, Daitokuji, temple complex, temple, お寺, 寺院, 卍, 仏閣
Visited on 5 occasions, id: 260, 155 photos (7 extra photos can be found in the archive).