Higashi Hongan-ji


Museums & Sights



The temple closest to Kyoto Station exists thanks to a shogun’s paranoia. By the 17th century, the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism had grown powerful enough to worry Shogun Ieyasu Toku-gawa. When it became embroiled in a succession dispute, he drove the wedge in by offering land for a breakaway faction to build a temple on. Higashi Hongan-ji opened in 1602, a few hundred metres away from rival Nishi Hongan-ji, and the sect has been divided ever since. Fire razed the newer Hongan-ji four times, the current structures date from only 1895. Among the temple’s exhibits are tools used in the most recent reconstruction, including a wooden sledge for transporting timber and a 375kg rope made from the hair of temple followers - regular ropes of the era were too weak to hoist such heavy timber. After a major renovation, the Main Hall is set to reopen in October 2009.

Kyoto Shortlist

Review updated October 2009


Karasuma Dori, Shichijo-agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto

Transport Kyoto Station (JR, Karasuma, Kintetsu lines).

Telephone 075 371 9210

Open Mar-oct 5.30am-5.30pm daily. nov-feb 6.20am-4.30pm daily.

Admission Free

Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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