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Kami-Daigoji is located up on the mountain behind Daigoji Temple. Kami-Daigoji is the 11th temple of the Saigoku 33 Temple Pilgrimage. While a few of the buildings (the Junteido Hall and Godaido Hall) were rebuilt in the 20th century after fires destroyed them, the rest date back to the Momoyama, Heian, and Muromachi Periods. They have been designated Important Cultural Properties.
You can reach the Kami-Daigo area from a path that begins to the right of Daigoji Temple's gate. It's about an hour long hike, all uphill and with many steps, so it's not easy. Bring water or purchase it from the vending machine outside the pay area for Kami-Daigo.
Because it is difficult to reach, the temple is usually very peaceful and quiet, so you can freely explore and appreciate the temple and surrounding nature. Actually, the hike up is quite beautiful, too, although it's easy to not notice when you are focused on getting to the top.
Entrance to the temple is 600 yen. The ticket is payed for at the bottom of the mountain where the trail begins.
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Although Daigoji Temple is one of Kyoto's World Heritage Sites, it is less often visited by foreign tourists, but in my opinion, it's one of Kyoto's best temple complexes!
Upon entering, the first building on left is the Sanboin, the garden complex. The original Sanboin temple was built in 1115 however, the buildings and garden you see today were rebuilt in 1598, so they still hold a lot of history. Unfortunately, you cannot take pictures anywhere inside the Sanboin complex. The garden inside is absolutely gorgeous, especially in the fall.
If you travel straight along the road, you will reach the main temple complex, where the Kondo is located. The Kondo and Sadaimon gate were rebuilt by Toyotomi Hideyori in 1600 and 1605 respectively. The temple guardians on each side of the gate date back to the Heian Period (1134). The oldest structure in the complex is the five-storied pagoda, completed in 951. Because so many of the buildings are truly historical, Daigoji is well worth a visit, and the complex is large enough, you can easily spend two hours or more viewing all of the sights. Despite its fame, foreign tourists do not travel here as often, so it's less crowded, which makes the trip even more enjoyable!
If you are worried that Daigoji is too far out of the way, I recommend combining it with a trip to Uji or Fushimi Inari Shrine!
Each area has separate admission costs. You can either pay 600 yen to see one, 1000 yen for two, or 1500 yen to see all three areas. The Reihokan is a museum, so if you just want to see the actual temple, I recommend paying 1000 yen to see the main complex and Sanboin. If you just want to see the main part, travel straight down the entrance road and just pay 600 yen.
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