Honenin Temple

Description: 
Honenin temple is one of recommended stops along the Philosopher’s path of Kyoto, among outstansing names of Nanzenji, Anrakuji or Ginkakuji. Even standing by famous temples, Honenin makes itself special and unique by holding a fresh atmosphere pervaded with mossy wet scent behind the modest thatched gate. Far from the splendid appearance covered by layers and layers of red autumn leaves of the others, Honenin silently sends its aroma to beautifully refined blossoms of camellias, pink and red side by side lit up the small garden. All of these special things put obstacles in time’s way, bringing a light feeling of nostalgia whenever you step in the temple precinct.

honenin_temple_welcomekansai

Source: photograph.pro

As its name, Honenin plays an significant role in the relationship between the great priest Honen and Japanese Buddhist development history. Honen is well known as the founder of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism in about 1100s. He even constructed a hut for training this sect however, the hut fell into ruin after he was gone. It even happened before his death that he was exiled in the last years of his life and some of his disciples were punished by death. His sect Jodo at that time was considered as a bad religion then all related people and elements were ostracised. Till about 4000 years later, the priest Bambu built Honenin in the former site of the hut in memory of Honen. The temple was later completed by his student Nincho in 1680.

honenin_temple_welcomekansai

Source: photograph.pro

The Main hall of Honenin temple keeps a black Amida Buddha statue as one of the most imposing one across Japan, along with wooden statues of Honen and Bambu. There is also bookshelves placed in front of the hall where you can take some picture books of Buddhism to read. The main hall seems to be a big camellias blossom as it is only open during the season of camellias, usually falling in the period from April 1st to 17th and November 1st to November 7th, under red foliage of maple trees. An other building inside Honenin is a small storehouse with several free art exhibitions or concerts throughout a year. This is a favor space for local artists and musicians to perform Western and Japanese music recitals. Symposiums and tea ceremony sometimes take place here.

honenin_temple_welcomekansai

Source: photograph.pro

Overall, the most enjoyable moment of visitors coming to Honenin is the time they walking along the temple approach. Step by step up over the stone stair, it is an amazingly peaceful feeling when your eyes catch Honenin mossy thatched gate. It is just like a neighborhood home where you can ask for a hot bowl of rice. Through the gate, you can see two sand mounds in both sides of the path painted with different patterns of waves, flowers and maple leaves. It is a kind to purify the visitors’ body and soul so they call them Byakusadan as the purification water. Other attractions inside Honenin are a mossy garden holding a pond with a stone bridge crossing over and a small spring called Zenkisui.

Open time: 

From 6:00 am to 4:00 pm. Last admission at 3:30 pm

Admission: 

Freely access

How to access: 

Take Kyoto city bus No.5 or 17 from Kyoto Station then get off at Ginkakuji-michi Stop and take a 10 minute walk.