Higashi Hongan-ji Temple (東本願寺)

Higashi Hongan-ji temple is a Shin Buddhist temple in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto. It is the head temple of the Otani sect, which is part of the Shinshu Kyodan Rengo (Ten Schools of Shin Buddhism), and also joins Nishi Hongan-ji temple (officially Hongan-ji temple, head temple of the Hongan-ji sect of Shin Buddhism), as one of the main temples of Shin Buddhism. The official name of the temple was "Hongan-ji" until 1987, since which time it has been "Shinshu Honbyo Temple". To distinguish it from Nishi Hongan-ji temple, also in Shimogyo Ward, it is often called "O-Higashi-san".


(For history before the east-west split, refer to the article on The History of Hongan-ji Temple.)

Kyounyo (Kouju), the 12th master of Hongan-ji Temple, was given a domain for a temple to the east of Hongan-ji by Ieyasu TOKUGAWA, and founded Higashi Hongan-ji Temple when Hongan-ji Temple split in 1602. Located in present day Karasuma Shichijo, Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto, it is called Higashi Temple (Eastern) Hongan-ji Temple because it is to the east of Nishi (Western) Hongan-ji Temple, which is located at Horikawa Shichijo.

It was a religious corporation overseen by the Otani sect until 1987, at which time Hongan-ji Temple was legally dissolved and absorbed by the sect. After that, Higashi Hongan-ji Temple's official name became "Shinshu Honbyo Temple" ("Honbyo" means the original sanctuary where followers hear the teaching of the patriarch Shinran, the resting place of Shinran). It is also to distinguish it from the breakaway Higashi Hongan-ji sect of Shin Buddhism and emphasize its propriety.
cf O-Higashi Rebellion

Having had 4 fires in the Edo period, so many that it acquired the nickname, "Flaming Hongan-ji Temple", the current buildings, though many burned and were rebuilt in the Meiji period, maintain the style of the time in their construction and the paintings on the walls. The Goei-do, which houses the statue of Shinran Shonin, is among the largest wooden buildings in the world (currently covered by scaffolding for a major restoration). The Goei-do Gate is also one of the three famous gates of Kyoto. Shinran's "Kyogyo Shinsho" (National Treasure) (Bando Edition) is in its possession. Shosei-en Garden, on the neighboring grounds, is a national scenic area. The current master of the temple is Choken OTANI (Jonyo).

Cultural Assets

National Treasures

Kyogyo Shinsho, by Shinran (Bando Edition) 6 Volumes

Important Cultural Assets


Take the Kyoto City Subway to Gojo Station

Education (Shin Buddhist Otani Sect Educational Association)


Otani University

Kyoto Koka Women's University

Osaka Ohtani University

Doho Universiity

Nagoya Zokei University of Art & Design

Nagoya College of Music

Aichi Bunkyo University

Aichi Shinshiro Otani University

[Original Japanese]