Horinji Temple


Crossing over Togetsukyo bridge located in Arashiyama and following the left road leading halfway up to the Arashiyama mountain, you will meet Horinji, an esoteric Buddhist temple belonging to Shingon sect. The temple is 13th and also the last destination on Kyoto Jusan Butsu pilgrimage trail. Local people call Horijin temple the Kokuzo of Saga. The history of Horinji temple is recorded in many ancient documents such as Tales of past days, the Pillow book or Tale of the Heike. The temple has the origin from Kadonoidera temple which was built in 713 by the monk Gyoki following the command of Emperor Genmei. In 829, a statue of Kokuzo Bodhisattva was enshrined in the temple by the monk Dosho then the temple’s name was changed into Horinji like its name today. The Kokuzo Bodhisattva is also the Horinji Temple’s main deity representing wisdom, welfare and arts that has power to protect human against devils.



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The entrance leading to Horinji is different from other temples that is covered by overgrown green tree. The atmosphere is extremely quite and everything you can hear is the breath of trees. The Hondo of Horinji enshrines a sculpture of Kokuzo Bosatsu, the main statue Bhaisajyguru which has not been displayed for over 100 years. An other important building of the temple is Tahoho, a two-storied pagoda which can be seen clearly from the other side of Ori river. Around the precinct, you can see a beautiful large bell and some statues of sheep and cow.



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Dendengu is a Shinto shrine inside Horinji ground which is dedicated to the god of thunder and lightning and honors the spirits of those in the electronics and radio industries therefore prayers come here with the hope that they will be blessed with safety and development in the field of electronics industry. Legend tells that long time ago, a bright star fell from the sky down to Kokuzo Bodhisattva so the shrine was constructed for the god of thunder and lightning called Dendenmyojin. The shrine was burnt down many times but was reconstructed in 1956 by Hirabayashi Kinnosuke, the director of the Kinki Bureau of Telecommunications following his desire of the development of electronics. Thomas Edison and German scientist Heinrich Rudolf Hertz, two typical representatives in the electronics and radio research fields get copper statues near the shrine. From the beyond yard of Horinji temple, visitors can get the beautiful views of Arashiyama. Such a beautiful region, you feel like the air from Horinji slowly spreads out covering all hills and rivers and makes all of them fall into sleep.


Horinji backyard

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Horinji is famous for Jusanmairi, the Coming of age ceremony lasting from March 13th to May 13th for all boys and girls who become 13 years old in this period of time. They will visit the temple for virtue and wisdom but highly recommended not to look back the temple on their way out by the time they finish crossing the Togetsukyo Bridge unless they want to lose virtue and wisdom they have just received.

Open time: 

From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Last entry is 4:40 pm )



How to access: 

From Kyoto: take Kyoto city bus to Nakanoshima-koen bus stop then take a 10 minute walk to the temple.

From Arashiyama Station: take a 5 minute walk on the Hankyu Arashiyama Line or 10 minute walk on the Keifuku Electric Railroad

From Saga-Arashiyama Station: take a 15 minute walk on the Sanin Main Line.