As a center for Shingon Esoteric Buddhism, Kyoto’s Daigoji temple has long been a setting for historic events. In this exhibition, we explore Daigoji’s transformations from the Heian period down to modern times, using rarely shown historical materials and documents, with a primary focus on Buddhist statues and paintings designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. This will also be an extraordinary opportunity to see historical materials related to the famed cherry blossom viewing at Daigoji held by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598, together with fusuma paintings and gorgeous depictions of Daigoji in modern art.


Daigoji Temple: A Shingon Esoteric Buddhist Universe in Kyoto

September 19 to November 11, 2018

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition
*This exhibition will travel to Kyushu National Museum (January 29 to March 24, 2019).
*Download the list of changes in works on display

Daigoji, located in the Yamashina area of Kyoto, is a celebrated Buddhist temple that has played an important role in Japanese history ever since its founding in 874 (Jōgan 16) by the monk Shōbō, who was later known by the honorific title Rigen Daishi. Within the Shingon tradition of Esoteric Buddhism, the temple is known as a sacred site that places great emphasis on conducting prayers for spiritual empowerment and esoteric rites in particular. The sculpture and paintings used as the chief objects of worship in those rituals along with the ritual implements have been preserved as treasures at the temple since the period of its founding in the ninth century. The Documents and Sacred Writings of Daigoji, numbering 69,378 items, has been designated a National Treasure. These items, which include records of the ritual programs, procedures and methods as well as the iconography of the objects of veneration in addition to documents demonstrating the faith of various powerful political figures, recount for us the glorious history of Daigoji.
Among these National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties are found many cherished works, including documents, calligraphy and Buddhist sculpture and paintings that were sent overseas in 2016 (Heisei 28) to be displayed in China for the first time. Those exhibitions, which traced the history and art of the temple from the Heian period through modern times, were extremely well received and were viewed by so many visitors in the cities of Shanghai and Xi’an.
To commemorate the exhibitions in China, exhibitions are now to be held at two venues in Japan, one in Tokyo and the other in Fukuoka, with the aim of introducing the treasures of Esoteric Buddhist art from Daigoji. The exhibitions chiefly feature Buddhist sculpture and paintings as well as valuable written works and calligraphy that have been designated National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. These will allow visitor to trace the vicissitudes of Daigoji from the Heian through the early-modern period. In addition to the profound art that represents the Esoteric Buddhist worldview, the exhibition will also provide a precious opportunity for visitors to experience the magnificent art of Daigoji from early-modern times. On view are items associated with the famous cherry-blossoming viewing hosted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at the temple during the Azuchi-Momoyama period, the mural-like fusuma slidingdoor paintings of the Sanbō-in cloister and the paintings of Tawaraya Sōtatsu.


September 19 to November 11, 2018

*There will be an exhibition change during the course of exhibition
*This exhibition will travel to Kyushu National Museum (January 29 to March 24, 2019).
*Download the list of changes in works on display


10:00-18:00 *Friday and Saturday 10:00-20:00

*Open until 20:00 on September 23 and October 7
*Last admission: 30 minutes before closing



*Open until 18:00 on November 6
*shop×cafe will be open daily during a period of an exhibition.

Adult General ¥1,500 Advance ¥1,300
College and High School Student General ¥1,000 Advance ¥800

Elementary, Junior-High school students and under are free.
*With a certificate of disability, the admission fee of a disabled person and a care-giver will be waived.
*Advance tickets will be available at the Suntory Museum reception desk during opening hours from July 18 to September 2.


◇100 Yen Discount
•For presenting a coupon downloaded from our website
•For displaying a coupon on your smartphone
•For presenting a ticket to a thematic exhibition at the National Art Center, Tokyo, or Mori Art Museum
•For parties of 20 or more

*Only one discount per person

Audio Guide

¥550 (English Available)

Organized by

Suntory Museum of Art, DAIGOJI Temple, Nikkei Inc., TV TOKYO Corporation, BS Japan Corporation

Sponsored by

The Bank of Kyoto,Ltd., Suntory Holdings Limited, Sumitomo Forestry Co., Ltd., Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., DAIKIN INDUSTRIES,LTD., Takenaka Corporation, Nissha Co., Ltd., Mitsui Fudosan Co., Ltd.