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Nishi Honganji Temple Nishi Honganji Temple

Nishi Honganji Temple

Nishi Honganji Temple is a large temple compound located north west of Kyoto Station with many beautiful buildings of historical and architectural significance. It is one of two head temples of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism in Kyoto. Both of these temples are called Honganji, and so are distinguished by their location: Nishi Honganji being the western temple, and Higashi Honganji being the eastern temple. Jodo Shinshu, is the most mainstream and common form of Buddhism in Japan, so a visit to either temple will give you great insight into contemporary Japanese religious belief.

The Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism was founded by the monk Shinran who lived from 1173 to 1263. Shinran believed that Amida Buddha had made a vow to save all who called on his help, and that to be saved one should simply trust in Amida Buddha’s vow. This simple teaching was, and still is, very popular among all classes of people, and today it is the most popular form of Buddhism in Japan. In 1272, after Shinran had passed away, the first Honganji Temple was built to continue his work.

** Many foreign visitors might think that cool places in Kyoto are golden temple, red gates at Fushimi Inari shrine, monkey park, speakeasies in downtown and so on. This is not really the case. Honganji temple is the must place to visit for you because there is the essence of Japansese culture in here. Catholic is to the Vatican what Japanese buddhism is to Honganji temple.

Access from Kyoto Catholic House

You can walk from our Catholic Guesthouse to Nishi Honganji temple in 5 minutes. And you can get our free city maps at our reception. Free Admission to the temple grounds but visits to the inner quarters and buildings are permitted four times a day.