Honpo-ji Temple is a quiet place of worship in the middle of Kyoto with an incredible garden
The history of Honpo-ji Temple began already in 1436 when the temple was founded by the monk Nisshin. The temple has burned down many times during its long history, but it has always been built again. The temple moved to its current location in 1588 on the orders of the preeminent daimyo Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The temple is not too far from subway Kuramaguchi Station, so it’s not difficult to get to, and they even have a very nice illumination event late in the year.
Mitsudomoe no Niwa
When you go to Honpo-ji Temple, the one place you definitely have to see is the Mitsudomoe no Niwa Garden. The garden has three spots you have to look for, three “swirls” that stand out from the rest of the garden. These little mounds are marked on the guide you get at the door. This garden is designated as a sight of special beauty by the government of Japan.
Tsunashi no Niwa
The other garden of the temple is the Tsunashi no Niwa Garden, which even though it’s not as big as its more famous counterpart, Mitsudomoe no Niwa, is still very beautiful and tranquil.
Buddha Nirvana Picture
This 10 meters by 6 meters Buddha Nirvana Picture is one of the three great Buddha Nirvana Pictures of Kyoto, and it’s veritably huge. You have to see it first from the first floor and then again from the second floor in order to see it all. Normally they only show the copy, but in spring every year for a limited time the original will be on display.
Moss in the garden
If you look closely at the moss at the gardens of Honpo-ji, you can see how beautifully taken care of it is. It’s really a wonder how these beautiful Japanese gardens can be kept this clean. A Japanese ode to gardening.
Manner & Tips
- Manner & Tips -
The staff at Honpo-ji Temple may not speak that much English, but you can get a leaflet about the history of the temple.
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Honpo-ji Temple / 本法寺
|Category||Temples & Shrines, Japanese Gardens|
|Address||617 Honpojimae-cho, Ogawa Street Teranouchi Agaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture|
|Directions||A 15-minute walk from subway Kuramaguchi Station.|
|Open Hours||10 a.m.-6 p.m.|
|Closed||Irregular holidays. Check the temples Twitter account for the latest information.|
|Notes||Only take one owl per person.|
Adults: 500 yen High school and middle school students: 300 yen
|Credit cards||Not accepted|
The temple is not very prepared for foreign guests yet, but they do have a small leaflet which explains the history of the temple in English.
|Information||Only in Japanese.|
|Lanuages spoken||Japanese and some very simple English.|