Honnouji Temple (本能寺)

Discover the rich history of Japan at Honnouji Temple in Kyoto, a hidden gem along the scenic Kamo River. As the head temple of the Honmon Sect of the Hokke School, it holds the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin. Rebuilt after the historic Honnouji Incident in 1592, when Akechi Mitsuhide rebelled against Oda Nobunaga, the temple’s serene surroundings now tell the tale of a critical turning point in Japanese history. Explore the sacred grounds and visit the tomb of Nobunaga Oda, commemorating the legacy of a pivotal era.

Honnouji Temple is famous as the site of the Honnouji Incident. It is also one of the most important places in Japanese history.

This Temple is a Buddhist temple of the Hokke school on the banks of the Kamo River in Kyoto. However, it is surprisingly little known that this temple is the head temple of the Honmon Sect of the Hokke School, which promotes the teachings of Nichiren Daishonin.

Nichiryu, together with his uncles Nichizon and Nichidou, worked to purge Myohonji Temple (now Myokenji Temple) of its priesthood. But they were unable to accomplish their goals. They left the Myokenji Temple in 1415. They then built Honnouji Temple.

Honnouji Tmeple was rebuilt in 1592 after being burned in the Honnouji Incident. But the Temple soon moved to its present location by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

Temple’s official WEB site

Honnouji main hall

Honnouji Incident

The Honnouji Incident was the early morning of June 21, 1582, when Akechi Mitsuhide rebelled and attacked his lord, Oda Nobunaga, who was staying at Honnouji Temple in Kyoto. Nobunaga was attacked in his sleep, and when he realized he was surrounded, he set fire to the temple and committed suicide. Oda Nobutada, Nobunaga’s eldest son and the head of the Oda family, was staying at Myokakuji Temple at the time. Akechi Mitsuhide’s army attacked Nobutada, who left Myokakuji Temple to fight back, but also committed suicide eventually.

In this incident, Oda Nobunaga died before he could unify Japan. He was succeeded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi destroyed Mitsuhide Akechi shortly after the incident and subsequently unified Japan.

Although the body of Nobunaga Oda was never found, there is a tomb of Nobunaga at this temple.

Tomb of Oda Nobunaga in Honnouji Temple
tomb of Nobunaga

Nearby spots from Honnouji Temple

This temple is not far from the Kyoto Imperial Palace. This may have been the reason why Nobunaga Oda stayed here.

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  1. […] at Myokakuji Temple 18 times out of the 20 or so times he visited Kyoto. In fact, he stayed at Honnouji Temple, where Nobunaga died, only three times. Nobunaga’s eldest son, Nobutada, stayed at this […]

  2. […] it is one of the sub-temples of Daitokuji Temple. After Nobunaga’s sudden death due to the Honnouji Incident, Hideyoshi Hashiba (later Toyotomi) gradually expanded it and renamed it […]

  3. […] Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Soken-in Temple in 1583 as a memorial to Oda Nobunaga, who fell in the Honnouji Incident. Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the man who united Japan after the death of Oda Nobunaga, […]