A quiet temple tied to the founder of the Pure Land sect
The thatched roofed gate of Honen-in Temple sits among the green surroundings of the philosopher’s path. Honen was a monk at the early Kamakura period and also founder of the Pure Land sect in 1175. He prayed to Amitabha, whose teaching was that if you chant the prayer of “Namuami dabutsu” to Amitabha, you will all go to Sukhavati (Paradise of Pure Land sect) after you die. In the Edo period, a monk from the Chion-in Temple established the temple as a Buddhist hall for chanting. The temple became independent of the pure land sect in 1953 to become its own original sect. The precinct of the temple is so quiet, so feel free to stroll around at your own pace.
There are two dry landscape gardens at both sides of the path leading to the gate. Ascetic monks of the temple maintain and change the patterns designed by themselves about once a month. This particular design is a floating leaf on a river. The patterns are changed according to the season, such as into cherry blossom and maple designs.
Look carefully for the white vase sitting on the pond. This vase is a piece of art by a designer from Shiga Prefecture. Although this piece of modern art stands out in this garden surrounded by nature, it works well to blend in with the surroundings.
Experience chanting “Namuami dabutsu”
Jizo bodhisattva is enshrined at the top of stone steps. The figure of the Buddha was made in 1690 and modeled after the head monk, Nincho. Please try and pray for it!
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Honen-in Temple / 法然院
|Category||Temples & Shrines, Japanese Gardens|
|Address||30, Shishigatani Goshonodancho, Sakyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto, 606-8422|
|Directions||・5 minute-walk from Minamidacho bus stop by #32 Kyoto city bus from Hankyu Shijo-kawaramachi stn. ・10 minute-walk from Jodoji bus stop by #5 Kyoto city bus from JR Kyoto stn. or Keihan Sanjo stn.|
|Open Hours||9:30am - 5pm|
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
There is a monk who speaks English, although not always there. You can easily get here from the famous sightseeing spot, philosopher’s path. There is no entrance.
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese, English (not always there)|