Kyoto's Nishi Honganji Temple

Nishi (West) Honganji and Higashi (East) Honganji are two temples in the center of Kyoto, a bit of a walk from Kyoto Station.
 The two temples serve as the headquarters for one of Japan's largest Buddhist sects, and thus serve as good examples of current religious culture in Japan. Nishi Honganji was built in 1591, and is the head temple in... follow me here... the Honganji faction of the Jodo-Shin sect, with over 10,000 temples in Japan and more than 200 overseas.

 Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the temple has some great architecture and two large halls worth checking out.
 The larger building is Goeido, while the smaller building on the right is the Amidado.

 Be sure to stroll around the grounds, as some of the most beautiful work can be found around back (to the left if facing the large halls).

I didn't visit Higashi Honganji, though it has a beautiful garden, Shoseien, a few blocks east, which you'll see in the future. Admission to Nishi Honganji and Higashi Honganji is free, though there is a charge for the garden.

Nishi Honganji opens daily at 5:30, closing between 17:00 and 18:00 depending on the season. It is located on Horikawa Street, a 15 minute walk northwest of Kyoto Station. From the north side of Kyoto Station, turn left on the main street (Shiokoji Dori) and follow that until it ends at Horikawa Dori; there's a pedestrian overpass at that intersection. You can cross there or use the pedestrian underpass in front of the temple. Either way, turn right on Horikawa. Follow that north, and you'll come to the temple after the next major intersection. There are two temples here; the first, smaller one is Kosho-ji. Nishi Honganji's main entrance is located just after the pedestrian underpass, where there is also a pedestrian crosswalk with a traffic light.

Higashi Honganji opens at 5:50 (6:20 in winter), closing at 17:30 (16:30 in winter). It's 10 minutes north of Kyoto Station on Karasuma Street, beyond Kyoto Tower. The Karasuma Underground Passage's northern-most exit will put you next to the grounds; make a U-turn outside (away from Kyoto Tower) to get to the entrance.

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