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Nishi Hongan-ji is the head temple of the Jodo Shinshu, and has been registered as a world cultural heritage. It is one of the most prominent temples in Kyoto. It boasts a large number of followers in Japan and throughout the year followers come to visit. It is said to be one of the major holy places in Japanese Buddhism.
Kakushin'ni, the daughter of Jodo Shinshu's founder Shinran Shonin, started the building in 1272. After it transferred a few times, thanks to a donation by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in 1591 it was put in its current location. There was a division in the sect in 1602 and from that, the Higashi Hongan-ji Temple was born, and this one was called the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple. (Nishi means west, Higashi means east.)
It's about 15 minutes' walk to the northwest from JR Kyoto Station (京都駅). When you get through the Horikawa Shichijo you will arrive in a temple area that might not seem like the center of Kyoto. When you enter the massive gate facing the Horikawa and see the lined up important cultural properties the air changes completely. Hiunkaku on the back left is unfortunately private so you will not be able to see it, but you will see Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji lined up near it, and these are national treasures. The gate you will also see is called the Higurashi-mon which means Sunset Gate, as you could spend all day admiring its beauty. Others include the Shiro-shoin where a large collection of famous architecture and works of art such as the Kuro-shoin are collected, however many of them are private. Thus it might seem rather plain for tourists compared to Kiyomizu Temple or Kinkakuji. You can go into the moment to spend a moment facing Shinran Shonin, which isn't bad at all.
From the JR Kyoto Station (京都駅) it's a 15 minute walk northwest.
Image Gallery: Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
Description: Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
|Sights||Nishi Hongan-ji Temple (西本願寺)|
Hanaya-machi-kudaru, Horikawa-dori, simogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-371-5181 / Fax: 075-371-5241|
|Admission Fee||Free admission|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Groups Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|
Map: Nishi Hongan-ji Temple