Day One: The Goma Ceremony at Daigo-ji

Location: Kyoto

Often, spontaneity result to some of the best memories you have ever had.

A pair of guardian statues (created in 1134 by Seizo and Ninzo) greets me as I enter the gate towards the grounds of Daigo-ji. 


Daigo – ji houses numerous cultural properties, notably a 954-year old five story pagoda (the oldest wooden structure in Kyoto Prefecture) and Sanboin, the latter which has been used by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as a venue for his cherry blossom viewing parties.



The temple precinct is quite big and composed of two areas: lower and upper Daigo. Kondo or the main hall of the temple is located at the lower Daigo wherein the statue of Yakushinyorai (Bhaisajyaguru,the Healing Buddha), principal deity of Daigo-ji is enshrined.

A view of Kondo, the central hall of Daigo-ji

A view of Kondo, the central hall of Daigo-ji


The magnificent view at Bentendo Hall

A picturesque scene awaits you at the Bentendo Hall. I visited during spring so I had view of the sakura, I can only imagine how lovely this spot is during autumn where a burst of red and orange hues would adorn the surroundings. Bentendo Hall is dedicated to Benzaiten (Sarasvati), the goddess of knowledge and liberal arts.

Later on, I witness Goma, the ceremony of a holy fire. The ceremony is dedicated to Fudo Myo-o, the principal deity for family welfare, success in business, the removal of bad luck, the invitation of good luck. In addition, prayers for car traffic safety are also performed in front of the hall.



The ceremony involved multiple priests where they chant, and blow conch shell, with the fire as the ceremonial focus and centre piece of the ceremony.

In Sanboin, the paintings of the cherry blossoms and maple leaves on the sliding screens add more beauty to the already serene place.


Daigo-40 Daigo-42

Daigo-ji was an unexpected inclusion during that day yet it turned out to be one of the beautiful places I have seen in Kyoto.

Prior to traveling, I always make a rough draft of my daily itinerary. I still do this even though I don’t comply with an itinerary 90% of the time.

The plan for the day was to visit Fushimi Inari first then visit Kiyomizu-dera however as I head towards the train station, my mind was a bit bonkers and kept on rethinking the entire plan. In the end, I went to Kiyomizu-dera first. In Kiyomizu, ended up staying longer than I expected and I got lost at some point.

At ten in the morning, I was a bit worried as I travelled to Fushimi Inari since it was late. Indeed, the train was almost empty when it arrived at Inari’s stop. I was a bit dejected seeing the crowd and was a bit torn if I should go or not. In the end, I decided to just continue on to Nara.

Then another idea came upon me: Daigo-ji.  I overheard Daigo-ji from a conversation in my hostel. I quickly check the routes to the temple and to my delight, there was actually a route I could follow from my current location.  I changed trains at the next station (perfect timing right?) and made my way to Daigo-ji.

 Upon arriving at Daigo, I took a shuttle that would take me directly to the temple. You can actually walk as it is fairly close to the train station however I have no sense of direction.


I came from JR Nara line so I got off to JR Rokujizo and transferred to the Tozai subway line. From there, you can travel to Daigo station.

More comprehensive directions can be found at Daigo-ji’s website here

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