Located on the site of a 9th century palace, Daikakuji was converted to a Shingon Buddhist temple in 876. Although the original buildings are long gone, the architecture and courtyard gardens retain the Heian Period style described in the Tale of Genji, and a large lake creates sweeping views across to the nearby mountains.
Originally a residence of Emperor Saga (785-842 CE), and later various emperors conducted their rule from here. The Saga Goryū school of ikebana has its headquarters in the temple. The artificial lake of the temple, Ōsawa Pond, is one of the oldest Japanese garden ponds to survive from the Heian period.