Digital Archives of Japanese Cultural Heritages
Daianji is one of the oldest temples in Japan. Its origins were Kumagori Shoja (Kumagori Monastery) established by Prince Shotoku. It changed the temple's name several times, firstly to Kudarano-Otera, then to Takechino-Otera, and to Daikan-Daiji, changing also its location. When the capital city moved to Heijokyo (Nara), the temple also moved to the present location in 716, finally changing its name to Daianji Temple in 745. During the Nara period, Daianji flourished as one of the seven greatest temples in Nara, together with Todaiji and Kofukuji Temples. At that time, Daianji was at the head of temples in Japan. Famous high priests such as Kukai, Saicho, and Gyoki resided at this temple, so it is said that Daianji was the origins of the Japanese Buddhism. In the medieval period, most of the Daianji's buildings were destroyed by repeated disasters such as fires and earthquakes, and the temple followed a course of decline. However, nine Buddhist statues created in the Nara period still exist at Daianji, and its precincts are developed recently year by year. Daianji is now known as a temple for "reducing the risk of cancer". When two unique festivals, "Konin-e Sasa Zake Festival for Confining Cancer" and "Take Kuyo Summer Festival for Confining Cancer", are held on 23 January and on 23 June respectively, a lot of people visit Daianji to pray for confining cancer.