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Daikaku-ji
大覚寺

Daikaku-ji is a Shingon branch Buddhist temple located in the center of Saga district. Originally established as a palace by the Saga Emperor (809–823), the structure was converted into a temple in 876. Since then, Daikaku-ji has been one of Kyōto’s “monzeki” temple with head priests heralding from the Imperial family. In Japanese history, Daikaku-ji is somewhat famous as the temple where retired Emperors of the 13th and 14th centuries have spent their final days as a monk, continuing their reign behind closed curtains.
Daikaku-ji today is divided into two areas: the palace, and the Ōsawa Pond 大沢池. While the former is a classic example of Imperial villa-style architecture, the latter is the oldest artificially created landscape garden in Japan. I personally fell in love with the pond area on my first visit to Kyōto in 2008, and have since visited the pond numerous times. Prior to 2019, the pond area could be visited like a park, but unfortunately, since then, one needs to pay an entrance fee.
Daikaku-ji and the Ōsawa Pond are famous for cherry blossoms. The palace also boasts a massive crape myrtle (blooming in summer), and the pond has several — one year more, another less — Lotus flowers.

Admission: open year-round, separate fee for pond area
Nearby places of interest: Hirozawa Pond, Jikishi-an, Seiryō-ji

Cherry blossoms and the pagoda of Daikaku-ji.

Cherry blossoms and the pagoda of Daikaku-ji.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
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