Daigo-ji (醍醐寺 Daigo-ji?) is a Shingon Buddhist temple in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan. Its main devotion (honzon) is Yakushi. Daigo, literally "ghee," is used figuratively to mean "crème de la crème" and is a metaphor of the most profound part of Buddhist thoughts.
Daigo-ji was founded in the early Heian period. In 874, Rigen-daishi (Shōbō) founded the temple. After having fallen ill and abdicated in 930, Emperor Daigo entered Buddhist priesthood at this temple. As a monk, he took the Buddhist name Hō-kongō; and shortly thereafter, died at the age of 46. He was buried in the temple, which is why his posthumous name was Daigo.
Several structures, including the kondō and the five-story pagoda, are National Treasures of Japan. The temple possesses 18 specifically designated national treasures, including the buildings and other works as well; and the temple holds several dozen important cultural assets. Wall paintings at the temple were the subject of academic research which earned the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy in 1960.
As part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto," it is designated as a World Heritage Site. The five-storey pagoda at Daigoji temple was built in 951 and is the oldest building in Kyoto. It was one of few buildings to survive the Onin War in the 15th century.
More than seven centuries after its founding, Toyotomi Hideyoshi held a famous cherry blossom viewing party called Daigo no hanami in 1598 at the Sambō-in sub-temple. The bright colors of maple leaves attract tourists and others in the Autumn season. Emperor Suzaku's mausoleum, known as Daigo no misasagi, is located near Daigo-ji.
On August 24, 2008, the Juntei Kannon-dō at the top of the hill on the east of the temple was struck by lighting and burned down. It stood in the Kami Daigo part of the temple. Kami Daigo is Number 11 in the 33 temples of the Kansai Kannon Pilgrimage. The structure dated from 1968. This resulted in the temporary closure of the upper area (Kami Daigo-ji) for disaster restoration construction, which reopened on July 1, 2009; however, as of 2012, the English version of the website incorrectly still lists the upper area as closed.[