Daikaku-ji, located in Ukyo-ku, Kyoto, was originally an Imperial villa, but was converted into a temple of the Shingon sect of Buddhism in 876. A number of 16th century buildings were moved here from the Imperial Palace after a fire in the Edo period.
Daikaku-ji was originally built for Emperor Saga, whose ban on the consumption of meat defined the Japanese diet for centuries
The temple hosted peace talks during the civil wars of the Nanboku-cho period
It can be accessible by train then on foot.
From temple is a fifteen minute walk from JR Saga-Arashiyama station or twenty minutes from Arashiyama Station on the Keifuku Line.
Successive members of the Imperial family had occupied the position of the abbot of the temple, and as a consequence, the temple was also regarded as a residence of the Imperial family, known as the “Saga Imperial Palace.” The Shinden (palace for the emperors daily use) has been designated an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government, and the entire temple grounds are also designated a national historic site.
The temple’s Osawa garden was designed in the Chinese architectural style known as chisen-shuyu, which indicates that the garden is meant to be viewed from a boat. The large lake beside the garden is Japan’s oldest artificial pond.
Today, Daikaku-ji attracts many worshippers as a seminary for the study of the Han’nya-Shingyo, an important Buddhist sutra known in English as The Heart Sutra. The practice of sutra copying is called "Shakyo", and was introduced to the temple by Kobo Daishi as a means of gaining spiritual merit. One of the temple treasures is a copy of the sutra that is said to have been written by Emperor Saga himself.
The Saga school of flower arrangement has Daikaku-ji as its headquarters. The school maintains its historical traditions and status while incorporating modern sensibilities, and thus is increasing in popularity year by year. A flower festival is held at the temple every year.