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Nishi Hongan-ji Temple


A temple associated with a supreme commander of ancient Japan.

Nishi Hongan-ji is a temple of the Jodo Shinshu Honganji sect of Buddhism. It is believed that this temple originated with the construction of the mausoleum that contained the grave of the high priest Shinran, who was the founder of this temple. It was moved to its present location by the hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi, ruler of Japan at the end of the 16th century. When the main hall, enshrining the Buddha, was destroyed by fire during the first part of the 17th century, structures with which Hideyoshi had a close connection were moved here from Fushimi Castle, where Hideyoshi lived, resulting in the present temple. Enshrined in the Mikage-do, which is designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property, is an image of Shinran, which is supposed to have been coated with lacquer mixed with Shinrans ashes. The shoin (a sitting room also used for study purposes), with its gorgeously decorated ceiling and walls, and Japan's oldest Noh stage, which was constructed at the end of the 16th century, are both designated as National Treasures.

The Daisho-in Temple Garden is a dry garden of 760 square meters using stones, white sand, trees and plants to symbolize mountains, rivers and the sea, without using water. In the sea made of white sand there are two islets, one each for a crane and a tortoise, with an artificial mound near the front. The stand-alone stonework on the left is designed to represent a waterfall in a deep valley. Stones used for this garden were transferred from Juraku-dai, the residence of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.


Address: Hanaya-cho Kudaru, Horikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Admission Fee: Free in the temple precincts

[Bus]JR Kyoto Stn./Bus/10-min. ride/ Nishihonganji-mae Stop/3-min. walk

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