Honen-in Temple

Honen-in Temple © Iry


This temple was established by Priest Honen in the latter half of the 12th century into the early 13th century. He had a simple thatched hut where he lived that became the Honen-in temple many years later. Later in the 17th century it was revived. Honen is cited as the founder of Jodo Buddhism and many Japanese high school students come here to visit to enrich their history studies.

Upon entering the front gate there is a passage of white sand called the Byaku-ki-dan that is piled up with sand on both sides. The white sand represents water, meant to cleanse your mind and body as you pass through. As you proceed, there are various statues of Buddha and Honen, and a storehouse that keeps Buddhist scriptures such as woodblock scriptures, and behind that is the Hojo (abbot’s chamber) as well as the Hojo garden.

The Hojo is adorned with various images of Mitsunobu Kano and Inshou Doumoto, and the garden is in the design of a Pure Land garden with a gushing spring in it and various sights to see, so it is worth seeing in itself. The main hall to the north of the courtyard is very beautiful in the flowering season for the camellias (March-April). There is also a tomb for internationally-known Junichiro Tanizaki who wrote Sasameyuki.

However, please note that under normal circumstances you can only visit the road leading up to the main shrine, and cannot go inside the main shrine. Only during a twice-a-year period from April 1-7 and November 1-7 is the temple open, and only during this period can you go inside the Hojo and accompanying garden and enjoy the courtyard. Normal admission is free, but admission to special areas is paid during the special periods.


Using the JR or Keihan Trains, take a city bus from either JR Kyoto Station (京都駅) or Keihan Sanjo Station (三条駅) bound for Iwakura. Get off at the Jodoji bus stop (浄土寺). From there it’s a 10 minute walk to the side of the mountain. Using the Hankyu railway, get off at Shijo Kawaramachi Station (四条河原町駅)and take the city bus bound for Ginkakuji (銀閣寺前), and get off at the Machida-cho stop (町田町), and it’s a 5 minute walk to the side of the mountain.

Image Gallery: Honen-in Temple

Description: Honen-in Temple

Sights Honen-in Temple (法然院)
Address 30 Shishigatani Goshonodanchō, Sakyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-771-2420 / Fax: 075-752-1083
Duration 30Minutes
Business Hours Monday:06:00-16:00
Admission Fee Free admission
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Autumn (September - November)
Recommended target Family Couples Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Honen-in Temple