Daigo-ji Hike

Kamidaigo-ji (上醍醐寺) is one of the temples on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage I went to with my wife and her mother many years ago. At the bottom of the hill is the Daigo-ji temple, but at the top is the Kami (upper) Daigo-ji temple where you can get your scroll signed. It was a fun and easy hike. I had a day off and wanted to try it again. Instead of going up and back, I figured there was a way to go up over the mountain and eventually get to Ishiyamadera in Shiga. I didn't end up going that far, but I was very surprised where I got to.

 I didn't bring my GPS, so this is a general idea of where I went.

I didn't bring my GPS, so this is a general idea of where I went.

The Route

Daigo Station is on the Kyoto Subway Tozai Line. I took the Shinkaisoku from Osaka and changed to the subway at Yamashina. Heading back to Osaka from Rokujizo it was faster to take the JR Nara Line (Rokujizo Station) directly back to JR Kyoto and take the Shinkaisoku from there. The hike costs ¥600 to enter the mountain. Up till Kamidaigo-ji the trail is well used and easy to follow. After Kamidaigo-ji the trail becomes much less used and signage is pretty much non-existent--and no English. Trees are marked however. I really should have brought my GPS and a good map for this.

1 - The beginning of the hike after the toll booth.

3- Heading back up from the Okunoin. The trail after Kamidaigo-ji was pretty much covered by leaves like this the entire way.

6- There are some signs. I think this was at the summit of the mountain I was hiking around.

7- 三四 34? Not sure what it means. I just liked that moss.

10- It was just amazing to come out of the mountain and discover this little valley and all the tea farms.

From the little valley and back into the city you have to walk a skinny road with some heavy traffic. That part wasn't that fun. Be careful.

Photos on Flickr: Nov 3, 2016 Daigoji Hike 醍醐寺ハイキング

2- Okunoin (奥の院)

Stumbling upon the Okunoin was just one of those I-love-living-in-Japan moments. I had seen some signs saying the Okunoin was on the trail, but it kind of just popped out in front of me after curve in the trail. The Okunoin is something that you'll see at many larger temples. It's a sometimes hidden place behind or tucked away from the main shrine or temple building where the spirit of the temple's founder is enshrined. See this definition.

4- After finding the Okunoin we had to backtrack and stumbled on this view point. I thought I would end up in the valley below, but the trail ended in the valley on the opposite side of the mountain. The train from here goes up the mountain. It was hard to find. Look for the ribbons on the trees.

5- Right below the view point in #4

8- This trail was definitely a trail and used occasionally it seems, but how underused and how there was no other people on it that day made this hike very special.

9- Eventually the trail hit this road which came to this gate. This is looking back towards where I came from.

11- Beautiful wood and stone work gate. Walking down the valley back to Rokojizo station was an added bonus to an already incredible hike.

12- Wild persimmons