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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Kyoto - Central Kyoto
Honganji Temples 
# 20   of 59 most visited
sights in Kyoto

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

Nishi Honganji ({莛) and Higashi Honganji ({莛) are two large temples in the center of Kyoto. As headquarters of the two factions of the Jodo-Shin Sect (True Pure Land Sect), one of Japan's largest Buddhist sects, they are a good place to experience contemporary Japanese Buddhism.

Construction Notice: The Amida Hall at Higashi Honganji is currently covered up by a huge scaffolding structure for renovation works that are scheduled to last through the year 2015.

Nishi Honganji's Goeido (left) and Amidado (right)

Nishi Honganji (West Honganji) was built in 1591 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, after the sect's former head temple, Ishiyama Honganji in Osaka had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga due to the temple's interference in politics. Nishi Honganji is the head temple of the Honganji faction of the Jodo-Shin sect with over 10,000 subtemples across the country and 200 temples overseas.

Nishi Honganji's two largest structures are the Goeido Hall, dedicated to Shinran, the sect's founder, and the Amidado Hall dedicated to the Amida Buddha, the most important Buddha in Jodo-Shin Buddhism. The temple also displays some surviving masterpieces of architecture from the Azuchi-Momoyama Period and early Edo Period, including the celebrated Hiunkaku Pavilion. Nishi Honganji is designated an UNESCO world heritage site.

Higashi Honganji's grounds seen from Kyoto Tower in autumn 2006

Higashi Honganji (East Honganji) was built only eleven years after and a few street blocks east of Nishi Honganji as the head temple of the Otani faction of Jodo-shin Buddhism. Its main hall, the Goeido is Kyoto's largest wooden structure and dedicated to Shinran, the sect's founder. Next to it and almost as large is the Amidado Hall, dedicated to the Amida Buddha.

A small Japanese garden named Shoseien is located another few street blocks east of Higashi Honganji and serves as a detached temple residence of Higashi Honganji. Today, the garden with its pond and beautiful autumn colors is open to the public.

Shoseien Garden

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
The Honganji temples are located a 10-15 minute walk north of Kyoto Station.

How to get to and around Kyoto

Hours and Fees
Nishi Honganji
Hours:5:30 to 17:30 (March, April, September, October)
5:30 to 18:00 (May to August)
5:30 to 17:00 (November to February)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:Free

Higashi Honganji
Hours:5:50 to 17:30 (March to October)
6:20 to 16:30 (November to February)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:Free

Shoseien Garden
Hours:9:00 to 16:00 (entry until 15:30)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:500 yen

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Hotels and Ryokan
Kyoto offers a wide range of accommodation for all budgets and tastes, including historic ryokan, Western style hotels and low-budget hostels. Among the most attractive districts to stay are the Kyoto Station area, the city center around Shijo Street and the Higashiyama District.
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Backpackers Hostel K's House Kyoto
Voted No.1 hostel chain worldwide for 2010&2011 by Hostelworld.com customers. 9 min. walk from JR Kyoto Station. Beds from 2,300 yen.
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Backpackers Hostel Ks House Kyoto
One of Kyoto's most popular hostels. A ten minute walk from Kyoto Station.
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Hotel Granvia Kyoto
Located inside Kyoto Station, this is Kyoto's most convenient 4-star hotel.
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Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel
Elegant luxury hotel located near Sanjusangendo Temple.
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New Miyako Hotel Kyoto
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Tours and Packages
Kyoto Kamo River Terrace Dining
Easy online reservations through Japanican.
Kyoto Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Kyoto and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Honganji Temples:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 383 users):
77/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 781):
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514.  Tokyo Marathon (Tokyo)   77/100
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516.  Reihokan Museum (Mount Koya)   77/100
517.  Honganji Temples (Kyoto)   77/100
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88.  Rinnoji Temple (Nikko)   866
89.  Hakone Tozan Railway (Hakone)   859
90.  Honganji Temples (Kyoto)   828
91.  NHK Studiopark (Tokyo)   821
92.  Akasaka Sacas (Tokyo)   813
93.  Kenrokuen (Kanazawa)   807
94.  Chionin Temple (Kyoto)   804

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English Links
Nishi Honganji
Official English website.
Higashi Honganji
Official English website.

Japanese Links
Nishi Honganji
Official website.
Higashi Honganji
Official website.

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