Nishi Hongan-ji Temple
The three main attractions on the temple grounds are Goeido Hall (dedicated to the sect’s founder), Amidado Hall, (to the Amida Buddha—the most important Buddha in Jodo-Shin Buddhism), and the temple gardens, which use stones, white sand, trees, and plants to symbolize elements of nature such as mountains, rivers, and the ocean. Bicycle tours to the temple are available, and those interested in deepening their understanding of Zen can take meditation courses nearby.
Things to know before you go
- The temple is a must-visit for travelers interested in modern Japanese Buddhism.
- Be prepared to remove your shoes before entering.
- There is no entrance fee.
- Wheelchair-accessible toilets are available at the temple.
How to get there
Nishi Hongan-ji is situated in the center of town, just northeast of Kyoto Station (about a 10-minute walk away). The area is well-served by public transportation, with plenty of buses stopping within a minute or two from the temple gates. The Gion neighborhood, at the heart of Kyoto’s tourist district, is about half an hour away by bus.
When to get there
Nishi Hongan-ji is open during daylight hours year-round. Crowds are fewest first thing in the morning. The best time to visit is in spring time or late autumn, when temperatures are at their most pleasant and the gardens are at their prettiest.
Nishi Hongan-ji Temple is often visited in tandem with its sister temple, Higashi Hongan-ji, about a seven-minute walk away. Here you'll find a mausoleum with the ashes of the founder of Shin Buddhism, a gargantuan fonder's hall (one of the largest wooden structures on earth), and art dating to the Meiji Period, which ran from 1868 to 1912.
- Kyoto Temple Guide
- Best Gardens in Kyoto
- Nara Tours from Kyoto
- Top 5 Foods
- Sake Tasting in Kyoto
- How to Experience Cherry Blossom Season in Kyoto
- Things to Do in Kyoto This Spring
- Things to Do in Kyoto This Fall
- Things to Do in Kyoto This Winter
- Top Shopping Spots in Kyoto
- How to Get Around in Kyoto
- Sightseeing on a Budget in Kyoto