Higashi Honganji Temple 東本願寺
A long-influential seat of religion with modern-day relevance
Unlike many sightseeing locations, Higashi Honganji Temple is still an influential place in modern religious practices, situated just east of another spot of interest, Nishi Honganji Temple. They functioned as a single temple complex, in fact, until shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu split them into east (higashi) and west (nishi) because he was afraid that as a single entity, their political power would grow too great.
Higashi Honganji Temple was constructed in 1602
Goeido, the main hall, is Kyoto's largest wooden structure
The temple is the headquarters of one of the two factions of the Jodo-shin sect
How to Get There
Located in the center of Kyoto, Higashi Honganji is easily accessible by public transportation or on foot.
Higashi Honganji is near two metro stations and a bus stop. From Kyoto Station , the temple is a seven-minute walk. From Gojo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line, it is a five-minute walk. Alternatively, take a bus to Karasuma Shichijo bus stop; the temple is only a minute away on foot.
The largest wooden hall in Kyoto
Each temple has its own highlights and interesting features. Like Nishi Honganji Temple, Higashi Honganji Temple has two very large halls. The slightly larger one, Goeido Hall, is the largest wooden structure in Kyoto .
A small garden to the east
Located a few blocks east is a small garden, Shoseien. This garden is used as a detached residence for the temple and is open to the public. Shoseien is lovely in all seasons and is usually less crowded than other gardens in the area. The entry fee includes an illustrated guide to Shoseien, which makes a wonderful keepsake.
Distinguishing the two temples
While the two temples are similar, a few points distinguish Higashi Honganji Temple from its western counterpart. Located to the east, it was built 11 years after the Nishi Honganji complex and has larger wooden halls. Higashi Honganji also has a garden separate from the main grounds.