Daitokuji Temple (大徳寺). A small and understated temple complex, boasting several small, secluded subtemples. Daitokuji is the quietest of the temples in north-western Kyoto, and if you visit it at the start of the day, you could virtually have it to yourself. Eight of the twenty-four subtemples open to the public (most days 9am-5pm), and each charges an admission fee (around ¥400). The highlight of the subtemples is Daisen-in, located on the northern side of the temple complex, which has a beautiful Zen garden without the crowds of Ryoanji Temple. Koto-in is particularly noted for its maple trees, which are beautiful in autumn. Nearest bus stop: Daitokuji-mae.*
Daitokuji (大徳寺) is the mountain where its complexes are laid out is called by the sacred name of Ryuhozan (龍宝山), lit. dragon treasure mountain. It was established in 1319 by Shohomyocho (宗峰妙超) who is also called Daitokokushi (大燈国師).
Daitokuji was frequented by Emperor Go-Daigo and was
counted as one of the five sacred mountains. But after the Ashikaga
shogunate was established, it was removed from the list and the shogunate
chose to ignore in favor of other temples that had not openly oppose them.
It then decided to stay away from meddling in politics and to focus on
Buddhist teachings through Zen practices. During Onin War, part of its
temples were burned down and it was subsequently rebuilt by rich merchants
of Sakai, Osaka. After Ashikaga shogunate fell, many daimyo donated and
Many of Daitokuji's temples were constructed before and early Edo period. Karamon (唐門) of Daitokuji is believed to be a remain of a Hideyoshi Toyotomi's richly decorated palace called Jurakudai (聚楽第) and is a national treasure of Korea. The first of three gates was constructed in 1526. The temple has such national treasures as Kan'non Enkakuzu (観音猿鶴図) and Daitokokushi Gazo (大燈国師画像) to name a few.
There are also six temples constructed by various daimyo and patrons.
- Obai'in (黄梅院) - Constructed by Takakage Kobayakawa
- Shinju'an (真珠庵) - Believed to be constructed by Ikkyu. The garden by Tamamitsu Murata and wall paintings by Dasoku Soga and Hasegawa Tohaku
- Daisei'in (大仙院) - The main temple is a national treasure. Also with a rock garden
- Juko'in (聚光院) - The wall painting by Kano Eitoku
- Ryoko'in (龍光院) - Constructed by Nagamasa Kuroda. The tea room Mittan (密庵) is widely known
- Koho'an (孤篷庵) - Constructed by Kobori Enshu. The tea room Bosen (忘筌) is widely known
Ikkyu and Sen no Rikyu are two of many famous people who had been influenced by Daitokuji. A rumour has it that Sen no Rikyu completed two of Daitokuji's three gates in 1589 and this was his undoing. It is said that he chose to have statue of himself on top of the second gate. Hideyoshi Toyotomi who also frequented Daitokuji realized that he and everyone else who pass the gate to enter will be looked down by the statue. He ordered that the offending statue be removed and is reported to have ordered Sen no Rikyu commit seppuku. While it is true that Sen no Rikyu did commit seppuku, the reason for it is not known.
by Wikitravel users Nzpcmad, Jose Ramos, John Grillo, Brian Kurkoski,
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(Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)