Unlike many sightseeing locations, Higashi Hongan-ji Temple is still an influential place in modern religious practices. It is located just to the east of another spot of interest, Nishi Hongan-ji Temple. Just as their names suggest, they were affiliated until the then-ruler of Japan Tokugawa Ieyasu split them into east (higashi) and west (nishi) sects, because he was afraid that their political power would grow too great.
Located in the center of Kyoto, Higashi Hongan-ji is easily accessible by public transportation or on foot.
Higashi Hongan-ji is near two metro stations and a bus stop. From JR Kyoto Station, the temple is a seven-minute walk. From Gojo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line, it's a five-minute walk. Alternatively, take a bus to Karasuma Shichijo Bus Stop; the temple is only one minute away on foot.
Higashi Hongan-ji Temple was constructed in 1602, ll years after its Nishi sibling
Goeido, the main hall, is Kyoto's largest wooden structure
Each temple has its own highlights and interesting features. Like Nishi Hongan-ji, Higashi Hongan-ji has two very large halls. The slightly larger one, Goeido Hall, is the largest wooden structure in Kyoto.
Located a few blocks east is a small garden, Shosei-en. This garden is used as a detached residence for the temple and is open to the public. This garden is lovely in all seasons and is usually less crowded than other gardens in the region. Entry fee includes an illustrated guide to the garden, which makes a wonderful keepsake.
While the two temples are similar, a few points distinguish Higashi Hongan-ji from Nishi Hongan-ji. Located to the east, Higashi Hongan-ji Temple is younger and has larger wooden halls. This temple also has a garden separate from the temple grounds.