Aug. 31, 2020 UPDATE
Honno-ji Temple- 本能寺 -
The temple offers pamphlets in multiple languages, including English, Chinese and French
English, Simplified Chinese, French
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Story & Recommendation
Honno-ji Temple – A Temple with Ties to the Daimyo Oda Nobunaga
Located inside Kyoto’s bustling local downtown shopping arcade, Teramachi, Honno-ji Temple is the head temple of the Honmon School of the Buddhist sect Hokke. Honno-ji Temple is known throughout Japan as the stage for the “Honno-ji Incident” – wherein the great daimyo Oda Nobunaga was forced to commit seppuku after being betrayed by his own samurai general, Akechi Mitsuhide. The temple was originally built in 1415 but has been rebuilt and relocated multiple times due to repeated encounters with natural disasters. Because of this, where Honno-ji Temple currently stands is not where the “Honno-ji Incident” actually took place. However, inside the temple grounds, you will find memorials to Oda Nobunaga and his clansmen. The temple’s museum also houses many relics related to and even belonging to Nobunaga himself. As the Honno-ji Temple provides a great opportunity to deepen your knowledge of Oda Nobunaga and the time period he lived, it’s a very worthwhile visit for those interested in Japanese history or the daimyo Oda Nobunaga. Also, if you’re a fan of Nobunaga, the temple’s daihoden hall sells exclusive Honno-ji Temple Oda Nobunaga merchandise too!
Hondo – Main Hall
This is Honno-ji Temple’s main hall, which was rebuilt in 1928. Staying true to the architectural style of the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573), the hall is thought to be a faithful reconstruction of the original. Inside the hall, there are explanation pamphlets in English and Chinese, so when you visit, make sure to pick up one and read about the temple’s storied history. Every day at 6 a.m. a prayer service open to the public is held at the hall. While it’s quite early, the experience is entirely free and gives you a rare look into an authentic Japanese Buddhist ritual.
Oda Nobunaga Mausoleum
After the death of Oda Nobunaga, his third son, Oda Nobutaka, built this mausoleum for him. In the back of the mausoleum, you will find a kuyoto memorial stone dedicated to Oda Nobunaga. However, Nobunaga’s remains do not lie here – only his tachi long sword. The memorial stone standing to the left of this mausoleum is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Honno-ji Incident.
Daihoden Homotsukan Museum
The Honno-ji Temple is also home to the Daihoden Homotsukan Museum, which houses various artifacts belonging to the temple and relics related to Oda Nobunaga. As the museum has a number of precious exhibits with items related to Nobunaga, including some personal items, such as his tea set, it’s more than worth the while for any fans of the historic Sengoku period daimyo. Admission: Age 7-12:￥200, age 13-18:￥300, age 18+:￥500 Disabled:￥200 *groups of 30+ receive a discount
Goshuin – Temple Seals
After visiting the main hall, buy yourself a goshuin seal book, if you don’t already have one, and go get the Honno-ji Temple’s seal. At Honno-ji Temple, they sell goshuin seal books featuring Oda clan’s crest, so if you’re a fan of Oda Nobunaga, then definitely check them out. Also, as Kyoto is home to a huge number of temples and shrines with lovely goshuin seals, you can also take this opportunity to start up seal collecting!
- Manner & Tips -
・Please remove your shoes before entering the main hall.
・No photography allowed in the main hall.
・The main hall is a place of worship, so please do not run around or make too much noise.