A small peaeful temple, to provide calm atmosphere with an amazing scenic approach along with a moss-covered thatched gate.
Honen-in「法然院」, located in Shishigatani at the foot of Mt. Nyoigatake by the famed Philosopher’s path in Kyoto, is a small tranquil temple.
The Temple was established by Priest Nincho, the 38th head priest of Chion-in Temple in 1680 to honor Priest Honen (1133-1212), the founder of the Jodo sect of Buddhism. At the time, Jodo sect of Buddhism was considered to be a heretic by conventional Buddhist sects and was accused of evil Buddhism. Therefore, Priest Honen was exiled to a remote place in the year 1207 at the age of 75.
The main Hall, which houses “Shohei-ga” paintings by Kano Mitsunobu(1565-1608), national important cultural properties, is opened to the public only in the first two weeks of April and the first week of November, when the temple becomes very popular with visitors.
Honen-in Temple has an amazingly scenic approach with stone steps, lined green trees and a moss-covered thatched gate. After the gate, you’ll pass between two raked sand mounds, “Byakusadan” that are said to purify the visitor. Then you can cross a lovely low stone bridge over the shallow carp pond to a moss-covered garden behind the main hall.
The best time to visit temple is probably in April for its cherry blossoms and again in autumn for its magnificent colored maples. It’s worth to stop by, if you visit Ginkaku-ji Temple, or Philosopser’s path from Nanzen-ji Temple, or Eikan-do Temple.
Address : 30 Goshonodan-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku
Hours : 6:00 to 16:00
Admission : Free (the grounds only)
Note : A small fee for the main hall in the first two weeks of April and the first week of November.
From Kyoto Station : Take Kyoto City Bus No.5 to Jodo-ji bus stop then walk toward the hill for 10-minute.
From Shijo Kawaramachi : Take Kyoto City Bus 32 to Minamida-cho bus stop then walk toward the hill for 5-minute.
From Ginkaku-ji Temple : 5-minute walk