New BV RI photometry and optical spectroscopy of the Type IIp supernova 2004dj in NGC 2403, obtained during the first year since discovery, are presented. The progenitor cluster, Sandage 96, is also detected on pre-explosion frames. The light curve indicates that the explosion occured about 30 days before discovery, and the plateau phase lasted about +110 ± 20 days after that. The plateau-phase spectra have been modelled with the SY NOW spectral synthesis code using H, Na I, Ti II, Sc II, Fe II and Ba II lines. The SN distance is inferred from the Expanding Photosphere Method (EPM) and the Standard Candle Method (SCM) applicable for SNe IIp. They resulted in distances that are consistent with each other as well as earlier Cepheidand Tully-Fisher distances. The average distance, D = 3.47 ± 0.29 Mpc is proposed for SN 2004dj and NGC 2403. The nickel mass produced by the explosion is estimated as ∼ 0.02± 0.01 M⊙. The SED of the progenitor cluster is reanalysed by fitting population synthesis models to our observed BV RI data supplemented by U and JKH magnitudes from the literature. The χ-minimization revealed a possible ”young” solution with cluster age Tcl = 8 Myr, and an ”old” solution with Tcl = 20 30 Myr. The ”young” solution would imply a progenitor mass M > 20 M⊙, which is higher than the previously detected progenitor masses for Type II SNe.