Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

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Domo arigato.
  • Gate of Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Gate of Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Path to Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Path to Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Taikodo of Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Taikodo, Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Main Hall Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Main Hall, Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Main Hall Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Main Hall, Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Otani Mausoleum Office in Kyoto

    Otani Mausoleum Office, Otani Sobyo

  • Bellfry of Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Belfry, Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

  • Path to Cemetery of Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

    Path to Cemetery, Otani Sobyo in Kyoto

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Facts & Figures

Otani Sobyo in Kyoto is also known as Higashi Otani. It belongs to Higashi Honganji (Eastern Temple), which is the head temple of Shinshu Otani-ha, a branch of Pure Land Buddhism. Otani Sobyo contains one of the largest Buddhist graveyards in the city. There you will find also the last resting place of Japanese Buddhist monk Shinran (1173 - 1263). He was the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Japanese Buddhism. Many followers visit the mausoleum from around the country. There are two sites in Kyoto with cremated remains of Shinran (Kenshin Daishi). The other can be found at Otani Hombyo Temple in Kyoto. Highlights of Otani Sobyo were for me the impressive entrance gate, main hall, graveyard of Shinran and the huge cemetery.

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  • Otani Sobyo:
  • Opening Hours - 5:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Closed - no closing days
  • Admission Fee - free

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History

In 1262 Shinran (1173 - 1262), known as Kenshin Daishi and founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect, died at the age of 90. Ten years after his death in 1272 the Otani Sobyo Mausoleum was built by his youngest daughter Kakushin-ni. The mausoleum was moved many times to different locations and finally in 1670 it found its place at the current spot within the Higashi Honganji Temple grounds in Kyoto. The temple itself was established by Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543 - 1616) in the year 1602. At the end of the 17th century the mausoleum and halls were rebuilt. Shogun Tokugawa Yoshimune (1684 - 1751) donated in the year 1745 approximately 33000 square meters of land so that the Otani Sobyo Mausoleum could be extended.

Location

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Otani Sobyo is located within the Higashiyama District in Kyoto near Maruyama Park and Kodai-ji Temple.
Address: 477 Maruyama-cho, Higashiyama-ku, 605-0071 Kyoto

How to get to Otani Sobyo?

  • 20min from to Gion bus stop by bus number 206 or 207 and
  • 10min walk from Gion bus stop to Otani Sobyo

Sightseeing spots

Top:

Main Hall - The main hall was completed in 1701. It contains the statue of Amitabha (principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism).

Omote Karamon - The impressive front gate with its beautiful wooden carvings is a must see during your Kyoto visit.

Grave of Shinran - The last resting place of the famous Buddhist monk Shinran is also know as gobyou.

Higashi Otani Cemetery - The cemetery covers a huge area and you should take your time to explore this place.

Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)

March

Higashiyama Hanatouro Festival (Early - Mid March)
The illumination of local temples and roads by thousands of lanterns in the Higashiyama neighbourhood last for 10 days and starts at 6pm until 9:30pm. It is an unforgettable experience.

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).

August

Manto-Kuyo Ceremony at Otani Sobyo (14th)
During this event, which is related to Obon, Otani Sobyo Mausoleum and the nearby Otani Cemetery are beautifully lit up with thousands of lanterns and candles to guide the homecoming spirits and ancestors on their way.

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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