Honryuji Temple (本隆寺)

Discover the rich history and serene beauty of Honryuji Temple, the prestigious head temple of the Hokke school of Buddhism in Kyoto’s Nishijin district. Originally founded in 1488 by Nichishin Daikasho, the temple has withstood challenges, including religious wars and fires, earning it the nickname “the temple that never burns down.” Amidst modern changes, Honryuji maintains the nostalgic atmosphere of old Nishijin. Explore its grounds, featuring the resilient main hall (a National Important Cultural Property), Soshido, Banshindo, and more. Immerse yourself in the spiritual and cultural legacy of Honryuji, a timeless gem in Kyoto’s vibrant tapestry.

Honryuji gate

Honryuji Temple is the head temple of the Hokke school of Buddhism (Shinmon sect). It is located in the Nishijin district of Kyoto. Its official name is Ekomuryosanhonkoryuji Temple. But it is abbreviated to Honryuji Temple. This area was called Nishijin because the western army was stationed here at the time of the Onin War. And it has since become a textile town.

Times have changed, and today’s Nishijin is not as bustling with the sound of looms as it used to be. Instead, fashionable stores line the streets. However, if you step into Monya-cho, where Honryuji Temple is, you will still find the good old Nishijin atmosphere.


The founder, Nichishin Daikasho, left Myokenji Temple in 1488 and founded Honryuji Temple in Shijo Omiya. With the support of Emperor Go-Kashiwabara and others, the temple prospered. However, in 1536, a religious war broke out between the Hokkke sect temples and Enryakuji and others. As the result, all the buildings were destroyed. This temple fled to Sakai along with other temples.

In the spring of 1542, the temple was rebuilt on its present site. But in 1653 a great fire destroyed it again. The reconstruction took place in 1658.

In 1788, the temple was destroyed by fire once again. Fortunately, however, the main hall, the Soshido (ancestral hall), and the treasury had servived. Since then, the temple got a nicknam “the temple never burn down”.

Today, the main hall (designated as a National Important Cultural Property), which survived a major fire, is the oldest of the 16 head temples in Kyoto.

Honryuji Main hall

The temple grounds also include the Soshido (designated as a National Important Cultural Property), Banshindo, Belfry, Sutra Repository, Treasure House, Hojo, and Hall for the faithful. There are also eight sub-temples surrounding the temple grounds.

Hokke sect official WEB site

Nearby spots from Honryuji Temple

Myokenji Temple is the main temple of Nichiren Shu in Kamigyo-ku. This temple was the first Hokke Dojo in the capital of Kyoto. Toyotomi Hideyoshi once used it as his regular lodging in Kyoto.

Related articles:

  1. […] in timeless legacy of Honryuji Temple, the Hokke school’s head temple in Nishijin, boasting resilience, history, and cultural […]