Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

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Domo arigato.
  • Sanmon Gate of Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Temple Sanmon Gate In Kyoto

  • Honen-in Temple grounds in Kyoto

    Honen-in Temple Grounds

  • Byakusadan Terrace of White Sand at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Byakusadan Terrace Of White Sand

  • Byakusadan Terrace of White Sand at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Byakusadan Terrace Of White Sand

  • Repository of Buddhist Scriptures at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Repository Of Buddhist Scriptures

  • Main Hall (Hojo) at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Main Hall (Hojo) In Kyoto

  • Moss Garden at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Moss Garden In Kyoto

  • Pond at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Pond In Kyoto

  • Stone Pagoda at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Stone Pagoda

  • Buddha Bronze Statue at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Buddha Bronze Statue In Kyoto

  • Old Wisteria Vine at Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Old Wisteria Vine

  • Beautiful Kimonos Honen-in Temple in Kyoto

    Honen-in Beautiful Kimonos

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Facts & Figures

Honen-in is an independent Jodo-shu temple. The small and beautiful temple can be found near the Philosopher´s Walk. Do not miss the famous Shoheki-ga paintings by artist Kano Mitsunobu (1565 - 1608). You will find these important cultural properties inside the Hojo building. Best Ryokans in Kyoto Explore Ryokans in Kyoto >
Ryokans are the perfect way to discover old Japanese culture and traditions.
The small spring in the garden is called Zenki-sui and has a well-known background story. The legend says that a priest with the name Nincho speared the ground and suddenly the water started flowing:) Important to know that the buildings are only open in April and November. The current chief priest of the temple Shinsho Kajita is known in Kyoto for his sense of community (Sanga). Honen-in is now a meeting place for artists and lovers of Buddhism. Enjoy monthly events like tea ceremonies, exhibitions and concerts. Little hint: everything is in Japanese. Last but not least famous people, like contemporary author Tanizaki Junichiro (1886 – 1965), poet Kawakami Hajime (1879-1946), philosopher Shuzo Kuki (1888-1941) are buried at the temple grounds.

  • Honen-in Temple Grounds:
  • Opening Hours - 6:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Closed - never, open throughout the year
  • Admission Fee - free
  • Honen-in Main Hall:
  • Open - only in April 1st till 17th and in November 1st till 7th
  • Opening Hours - 6:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Admission Fee - small fee

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In 1680 Honen-in temple was constructed by Nincho, the 38th head priest of Chion-in temple, under the guidance of his master Banbu. He thought Honen (1133-1212), a priest and founder of Pure Land Sect (Jodo-shu) of Buddhism, should not be forgotten and thats why the temple came to life. In 1207 Honen was forced to leave Kyoto. His practice of Jodo-shu was considered evil Buddhism at that time. In 1211 the ban was lifted and he could return to the city. One year later he died at the age of 78. During 1953 the decision was made to make Honen-in temple independent of the Pure Land Sect (Jodo-shu).


Map of Japan

Honen-in is located within the Sakyu Ward near Philosopher´s Walk and Ginkaku-ji at the foot of Mt. Nyoigatake.
Address: 30 Goshonodan-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8422

How to get to Honen-in?

  • 40min from Kyoto Station to Ginkakuji-michi stop by bus number 5, 17, 102, 203, 204 and
  • 10min walk from Ginkaku-ji-michi stop to Honen-in

Sightseeing spots


Byakusadan (Terrace Of White Sand) - These two sand mounds near the entrance gate are needed to purify the visitors.

Hojo - The Main Hall contains the famous Shoheki-ga paintings by Kano Mitsunobu (1565-1608). These paintings are declared national important cultural properties.

Sanmon Gate - The small entrance gate at Honen-in has a unique thatched roof.

koi pond - located at the back of the main hall, crossed by low bridges

statue of Jizo - this beautiful statue can be found in the moss-covered garden

small kura - the storehouse is the place of interesting art exhibitions

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


Spring Opening of Honen-in (1st - 7th)
Special opening of the Honen-in Temple buildings for the public during spring.

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).


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.


Aoba Matsuri (Green Leaf Festival) at Chishaku-in (15th)
The festival is an ancient ritual of followers of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which are called Yamabushi. They participate in a series of ceremonies like celebrating the birth of founder Kobo-Daishi (744 - 835).


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).


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.


Fall Opening of Honen-in (1st - 7th)
Special opening of the Honen-in Temple buildings for the public during fall.


Jyoya-e at Honen-in (31st)
New Year's Eve Service

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