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Higashi Honganji Temple 東本願寺

Higashi Hongan-ji
Higashi Hongan-ji

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 were one, in fact, until shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu split them into east (higashi) and west (nishi) sects because he was afraid the temple's political power would grow too great.

Quick Facts

Higashi Honganji Temple was constructed in 1602, 11 years after its Nishi counterpart

Goeido, the main hall, is Kyoto's largest wooden structure

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 JR Kyoto Station , the temple is a seven-minute walk, and a five-minute walk rom Gojo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line. 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, Shosei-en. This garden is used as a detached residence for the temple and is open to the public. Shosei-en is lovely in all seasons and is usually less crowded than other gardens in the region. The entry fee includes an illustrated guide to Shosei-en, 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 Nishi Honganji Temple and has larger wooden halls. This temple also has a garden separate from the temple grounds.

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