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
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
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.
3Good Experiences
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
4Good Experiences
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. 

2.7 experience3.0 access2.0 photogenic3.0
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
2.7 experience3.0 access2.0 photogenic3.0
Honpo-ji Temple is some way away from the city center, so it’s very quiet at the temple. The temple feels very artistic, and they house some very important cultural artifacts. This really surprised me, the temple was much bigger than I thought. Besides the temple, the Urasenke Chado Research Center is also close, so those into tea could visit both of these places.
2.7 experience3.5 access2.0 photogenic2.5
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
2.7 experience3.5 access2.0 photogenic2.5
Honpo-ji Temple / 本法寺
Category Temples & Shrines, Japanese Gardens
Phone +81 75-441-7997
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.
Reservations Not accepted
Closed Irregular holidays. Check the temples Twitter account for the latest information.
Notes Only take one owl per person.
Price range
Adults: 500 yen High school and middle school students: 300 yen
Credit cards Not accepted
Overseas Tourist-Friendly
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.
URL1 http://eishouzan.honpouji.nichiren-shu.jp/
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