Honen-in Temple (法然院)

Honen-in Temple is an independent Pure Land sect temple located in Shishigatani, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City. Its formal name is Honen-in Banbukyo-ji Temple on Mt. Zenki but is more commonly known by its honorific Buddhist title of Honen-in.


The temple's origins lie in a thatched hut in which Honen and his disciples practiced Rokujiraisan (worshipping six times daily) during the Kamakura period. In 1680 during the Edo period, Chion-in Temple's 38th head priest Manmu vowed to establish a Nenbutsu training hall on the site which was closely associated with Honen, and he and his disciple Nincho revived the structure into what was to become Honen-in Temple. The current chief abbot is Shinsho KAJITA (as of October 2006).

The Precincts

The temple has a rustic charm with its thatched sukiya-zukuri style (built in the style of a tea-ceremony hut) gate. It is also famous for its many graves of noted scholars and writers such as Junichiro TANIZAKI and Hajime KAWAKAMI, and its close proximity to Philosopher's Walk draws in many visitors during the spring and autumn tourist seasons.

The principal image of the main hall is a seated statue of Amitabha and the building also houses statues which include a standing statue of Honen Shonin. The paintings on the sliding door panels within the abbot's quarters are the work of Mitsunobu KANO and have been designated Important Cultural Properties. The temple precincts also contain the famous 'Zenki-sui' spring.

Cultural Properties

Important Cultural Properties
Sliding Door Panels
Color on gold leaf images of paulownia trees and bamboo (upper room of the abbot's quarters): three in the alcove room and four on sliding panels
Color on gold leaf images of young pine trees (upper room of the abbot's quarters): three on staggered shelves
Color on gold leaf images of kusamaki trees and kaido crab apple trees (anteroom of the abbot's quarters): four on sliding panels
Includes a pair of gold leaf color two-panel folding screens with images of pine trees


Location: 30 Goshonodan-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City

Access: Take Kyoto City Bus to Jodo-ji bus stop and then walk for 10 minutes.

Admission to the precincts is free and visitors may wander the grounds freely from 6:00 to 16:00. However, the buildings such as the main hall are only open to the public twice a year in April and November.

[Original Japanese]