Honen-in Temple (法然院)

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Leaving the Philosopher’s Path before reaching Ginkakuji Temple, visitors will find Honen-in Temple on the east side of the mountain. This temple was founded in 1680, in the early Edo period. The origin of the temple is as follows. Emperor Go-Toba was the one who later caused the Jokyu Rebellion and was exiled to Oki. Anrakuji Temple, named after Honen’s disciples Anraku and Juren, and dedicated to Matsumushi and Suzumushi, is located a little south of the Honen-in Temple.

In 1206, while Emperor Gotoba was away on a pilgrimage to Kumano, his court ladies Matsumushi and Suzumushi were ordained under the guidance of Anraku and Juren, and this incident aroused the Emperor’s displeasure. Honen Shonin was exiled to Sanuki Province, while Anraku and Juren were condemned to death, and the hermitage was left in ruins for a long time. In 1680, in the early Edo period, the 38th monk of Chion-in requested the construction of a Buddhist temple on the site associated with the original Honen Shonin, and the foundation of the present temple was laid by his disciple, the monk Oshikiri.


This temple is also famous for its autumn leaves. The interior of the temple complex is open to the public twice a year, in spring and fall. Also the temple is home to the graveyards of Tanizaki Junichiro, orientalist Naito Konan, Kawakami Hajime, and others.

Spots around Honen-in Temple

The area where Honen-in Temple is located is one of the most popular tourist areas in Kyoto.

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  2. […] the Path before reaching Ginkakuji, visitors find the Honen-in Temple. The temple is famous for its autumn […]