Temples Of Japan

Nishi Hongwanji Temple





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Nishi Hongwanji Temple
Amidado (Hall of Amida Buddha) at Nishi Hongwanji Temple




Nishi Honganji (Hongwanji) temple is the mother temple and headquarters of Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha.  The official name is Ryukoku-zan Hongwanji, and is commonly referred to as Nishi Hongwanji. is located in Kyoto city.  The temple is at Rokujo, Horikawa dori interesection and a few minutes walk from the JR Kyoto Station.

This temple belongs Jodo Shinshu (The True Essence of Pure Land Buddhist Teaching) sect of Buddhism.  Jodo Shinshu was founded by Shinran Shonin (1173-1263) during the middle of Kamakura Period (1185-1333).  Shiran Shonin was born in 1173 at Hino in the southeast of Kyoto, received ordination and entered the priesthood at the age of 9 at Shoren-in Temple.  He underwent training and studied at Enryakuji on Mount Hiei (Hieizan) for twenty years.  At the age of 29, he left the mountain to seek Genku (Honen) Shonin and under his guidance, he entrusted himself to the primal vow of Amida Tathagata.   The main deity at this temple is Amida Tathagata (Amida Buddha).  Shiran Shonin passed away on January 16, 1263 at the age of 90.



Kakushinni, Shinran Shonin's daughter, together with his disciples, erected a mausoleum in his memory at Otani, Higashiyama, Kyoto city and this became the foundation for Hongwanji.



The 8th Shushu (head priest) of Hongwanji, Rennyo Shonin (1415-1499), greatly expanded the circle of the Jodo Shinshu,.  During the era of the 11th Shushu Kennyo Shonin, the Hongwanji returned to Kyoto and reestablished at Horikawa Rokujo section of Kyoto city, where it remains today.


Map of Nishi Hongwanji Temple Precincts


On the precincts of Hongwanji are the Amidado (Hall of Amida Buddha), Goeido (Founder's Hall), Karamon, Shoin, Hiunkaku and other structures, many of which have been designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties of Japan.  In addition, the Hongwanji received the designation as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1994 as part of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.

Here is a video of Nishi Honganji Temple:





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