Higashi Honganji Temple

Higashi Honganji Temple: A Long-Influential Spiritual Center


Higashi Honganji Temple, located in the center of Kyoto, is a significant religious site with a rich history and cultural significance. Unlike many sightseeing locations, this temple is still an influential place in modern religious practices. It is situated just east of another prominent temple, Nishi Honganji Temple, and together they formed a single temple complex until they were separated into two entities by shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. This decision was made to prevent the consolidation of their political power. Higashi Honganji Temple, constructed in 1602, belongs to the Jodo-shin school of Buddhism and serves as the head temple of one of Jodo-shin Buddhism’s two most well-known factions.

Quick Facts

Higashi Honganji Temple has several notable facts that contribute to its significance and appeal. Firstly, it was constructed in 1602, making it a historical landmark with deep-rooted traditions. Additionally, the Goeido, one of the temple’s main halls, was rebuilt in 1985 and is considered one of the world’s largest wooden structures. This architectural marvel showcases the skill and craftsmanship of the builders. Lastly, the temple belongs to the Jodo-shin school of Buddhism and holds the prestigious position of being the head temple of one of Jodo-shin Buddhism’s two most prominent factions. This affiliation highlights its importance within the Buddhist community.

How to Get There

Higashi Honganji Temple is conveniently located in the heart of Kyoto, making it easily accessible by public transportation or on foot. The temple is situated near two metro stations and a bus stop, ensuring convenient travel options for visitors. From Kyoto Station, the temple is just a seven-minute walk away. For those arriving at Gojo Station on the Karasuma Subway Line, it is only a five-minute walk to reach the temple. Alternatively, visitors can take a bus to the Karasuma Shichijo bus stop, and the temple is a mere minute away on foot. With these accessible transportation options, reaching Higashi Honganji Temple is a breeze.

One of the Largest Wooden Halls in the World

Higashi Honganji Temple boasts several remarkable features and highlights, including its impressive halls. Similar to its western counterpart, Nishi Honganji Temple, Higashi Honganji Temple houses two massive halls. The Goeido Hall, the larger of the two, is considered one of the largest wooden structures in the world. Its grandeur and architectural significance make it a must-see attraction for visitors to the temple. The intricate details and craftsmanship of the Goeido Hall are awe-inspiring, providing visitors with a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of the temple.

A Small Garden to the East

Located a few blocks east of Higashi Honganji Temple is a famous garden known as Shoseien. This garden holds historical significance as it was once a detached residence for the temple but is now open to the public. Shoseien is renowned for its beauty in all seasons and was designated a national scenic temple garden in 1936. Visitors to Higashi Honganji Temple can take a leisurely stroll to Shoseien and immerse themselves in the tranquility and serenity of this picturesque garden. The entry fee to Shoseien includes an illustrated guide, making it a valuable keepsake for visitors to cherish.

Distinguishing the Two Temples

While Higashi Honganji Temple and Nishi Honganji Temple share similarities, several distinguishing factors set them apart. Firstly, Higashi Honganji Temple is located to the east and was built 11 years after the Nishi Honganji complex. This time difference in construction showcases the evolution of architectural styles and techniques during that period. Moreover, Higashi Honganji Temple boasts larger wooden halls compared to its western counterpart, emphasizing its grandeur and importance. Additionally, Higashi Honganji Temple has a separate garden from the main grounds, providing visitors with an additional serene space to explore and appreciate.


Higashi Honganji Temple stands as a testament to the enduring influence of spiritual centers in modern society. Its long history, architectural marvels, and cultural significance make it a must-visit destination for those seeking a deeper understanding of Buddhism and Japanese heritage. The temple’s accessibility, with its proximity to public transportation options, ensures that visitors can easily incorporate it into their travel itineraries. Whether exploring the grandeur of the Goeido Hall or experiencing the tranquility of Shoseien garden, Higashi Honganji Temple offers a unique and enriching experience for all who visit.

Address And Maps Location:

754 Tokiha-machi, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu

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