Nishi Honganji Temple (Kyoto) Show mapShow gallery

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  • Nishi Honganji Temple Karamon Gate In Kyoto

  • Nishi Honganji Temple Karamon Gate In Kyoto

  • Nishi Honganji Temple Karamon Gate In Kyoto

  • Karamon Gate Sign National Treasure

  • Nishi Honganji Audience Chambers Entrance

  • Nishi Honganji Amidado

  • Nishi Honganji Amidado

  • Nishi Honganji Drum Tower

  • Nishi Honganji Goeido

  • Nishi Honganji Ryukoden

  • Nishi Honganji Famous Ginko Tree

  • Nishi Honganji Shoin

  • Nishi Honganji Amidado Gate

  • Nishi Honganji Amidado Gate

  • Nishi Honganji Goeido Gate

  • Nishi Honganji Map

  • Nishi Honganji Administration Building

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Facts & Figures

Nishi Honganji (Western Temple) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. It is one of the most important Buddhism temples in Japan and the headquarter of the Jodo-Shinshu (Pure Land Buddhism) sect´s Honganji branch. The main temple includes more than 10000 subtemples all over Japan and 200 temples in the rest of the world. Best Ryokans in KyotoExplore Ryokans in Kyoto
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
Millions of people follow this Buddhism sect. Nishi Honganji is one of two temple complexes of Jodo Shinshu. The other one nearby is Higashi Honganji. Designated as National Treasures at the temple grounds are Amidado (Hall of Amida Buddha), Goeido (Founder's Hall) and Karamon (Chinese Gate). Inside the temples you will find great art like Buddhist images, paintings, statues and carvings.

  • Nishi Honganji Temple:
  • Opening Hours - 5:30 am to 5:30 pm (Mar, Apr, Sep, Oct)
  • Opening Hours - 5:30 am to 6:00 pm (May till Aug)
  • Closed - never, open the whole year
  • Admission Fee - free
  • Inner quarters and buildings
  • Open 4times a day - 10:00 am, 11:00 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm
  • Admission Fee - free

History

In 1591 daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 - 1598) gave the sect some land in Kyoto and during the same year the construction of Nishi Hongan-ji Temple started. All this happened after the complete destruction of the sect´s former head temple, Ishiyama Hongan-ji, in Osaka. Over the years Honganji Temple´s influence became to powerful in Japan and Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 – 1616) decided to split it up in Nishi Hongan-ji and Higashi Hongan-ji. Nishi Hongan-ji Temple is since 1994 a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Location Show map

Nishi Honganji is located northeast of Kyoto Station.
Address: Hanayacho-sagaru, Horikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, 600-8501 Kyoto

How to get to Nishi Honganji?

  • 5min walk from Kyoto Station to Nishi Honganji Temple

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Goeido (Founder's Hall) - Goeido was rebuilt in 1636. It is an National Treasure and contains an image of the founder of Jodo Shinshu, Shinran Shonin (central altar). Paintings of former Head Priests can be found besides the seated image of Shinran Shonin. The height of the hall is 29m.

Amidado (Hall of Amida Buddha) - After a huge fire the current hall was rebuilt in 1760. The height of the building is an impressive 25m. Inside you will find beautiful sliding screens, wooden image of Amida Buddha (central altar), paintings of priest Honen (1133 - 1212), Prince Shotoku (573 - 621) and six of the Seven Pure Land Masters.

Karamon - Some of the decorative carvings of the four-pillared Karamon Gate are based on Chinese history (lions - kara-jishi). Its outstanding beauty gave it the status of an National Treasure. It is said that in the past the gate was part of the Fushimi Momoyama Castle. The architectural style of the roof is called Irimoya.

Drum Tower - In 2014 the Drum Tower achieved the status of an Important Cultural Asset. Its main purpose was to let monks know the time of day. The tower contains ancient temple drums delivered by the Saidaiji Temple in Nara.

Buddhist Scripture Repository - Also in 2014 the repository achieved the status of an Important Cultural Asset. Its history is dating back till 1678. Inside the building you will find the complete collection of Daizokyo Tenkai Edition of Buddhist texts.

Hiunkaku Pavilion (Flying Cloud Pavilion) - Belongs to the top 3 pavilions in Kyoto, besides Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji. The sad news is it is not open for the public.

Great Ginkgo Tree - The tree is older than 400 years and designated by Kyoto city as a Natural Monument.

Bell Tower (Shoro) - The Bell Tower was constructed in 1620. The bell itself came originally from Koryu-ji Temple in Kyoto.

Festival & Events in Kyoto (dates can change without notice)

April

Miyako Odori (1st - 31th)
The traditional annual spring dance of the Kyoto district Gion Kobu performed by Geiko and Maiko is a must-see on your Kyoto visit. Don't miss the most popular dances the Miyako Odori "Cherry Blossom Dances" or "Dances of the Old Capital" at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater (located close to Gion Corner).

May

Aoi Matsuri (15th)
The highlight of this festival is a large parade from Imperial Palace through Shimogamo Shrine to the Kamo Shrines. More than 500 people wearing aristocratic costumes from the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The Aoi Matsuri belongs with the Gion Matsuri and Jidai Matsuri to the three most famous festivals in Kyoto.

July

Gion Matsuri (whole month)
The month July is full of different events like the Yoiyama - Kyoto's Magical Night (locals in kimonos look at the giant Gion floats the day before the parade) or the famous Yamaboko Junko (float procession on the 17th of July).

October

Jidai Matsuri ("Festival of Ages") (22nd)
People celebrate with a large parade between Imperial Palace to Heian Shrine the anniversary of the foundation of Kyoto. App. 2000 participants wearing historical costumes from different time periods. Enjoy this great festival which last around 2 hours.

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