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Temples

Higashihonganji

Area

Central




Highlight:
Higashi Honganji is located not far from Kyoto Station, and stands in sharp contrast to the metropolitan landscape it is surrounded by. It is one of the largest temples in Japan and is the headquarters of the Otani School of the Jodo-Shin (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism. Its founder, Shinran, was a disciple of Honen, a radical priest, who stated that salvation is possible by chanting the Nembutsu, the phrase, "I take my refuge in the Amida Buddha"...


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Higashi Honganji is located not far from Kyoto Station, and stands in sharp contrast to the metropolitan landscape it is surrounded by. It is one of the largest temples in Japan and is the headquarters of the Otani School of the Jodo-Shin (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism. Its founder, Shinran, was a disciple of Honen, a radical priest, who stated that salvation is possible by chanting the Nembutsu, the phrase, "I take my refuge in the Amida Buddha". Shinran was not the actual founder of the temple, but a cult following grew around his tomb located in Higashiyama. In 1272, the first Honganji temple was built by his daughter and was maintained by his descendants. Eventually, Hongaji began to grow and formed a great power. In 1465 however, warrior monks from the Tendai sect in Hiezan advanced upon the temple and destroyed it. Thus, the shin believers were driven out of Kyoto to the countryside, where, to its benefit, the Pure Land belief spread and gathered more followers. Because of this doctrinal simplicity, it strongly appealed to the common people, and brought Buddhism into the reach of daily life. To this day, this school of Buddhism has been the most popular faith among most Japanese since the thirteenth century. In the early seventeenth century, the Pure Land faith was so strong that the newly appointed Edo shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu feared its influence, and forced a doctrinal split by donating land for the Higashi Honmaru temple in 1602. The present structures are relatively new, and date from 1895, as the temple burned down in the nineteeth century. Because the rope available at the time could not lift heavy timbers during re-construction in the Meiji era, rope woven from hemp and hair contributed by women devotees were used to raise the beams. One of these coils is still preserved by the temple, displayed in the main corridor between the two main halls. The Goei-do (Founder's Hall) has an area equivalent to 927 tatami mats, and is one of the biggest wooden architectures in the world. It holds the image of the priest Shinran the founder of the sect, while the Amida-do(Buddha Hall) houses the main image of the temple, the Amida Buddha. These halls were rebuilt in 1895 (original halls were destroyed by fire).


Temples

Higashihonganji

Area

Central

Open

5:50-6:20am to
4:30-5:30pm

Admission

free

Address

Shichijo-agaru Karasuma-dori Shimogyo-ku

Tel No.

+81-75-371-9181

URL

http://www.honganji.net/index-e.asp


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