Higashi Hongan-ji

東本願寺   Click to listen highlighted text! 東本願寺

(higashi honganji)

Higashi Hongan-ji is one of the most significant Buddhist temples located in Kyoto, Japan. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a must-visit attraction for travelers seeking an authentic cultural experience in Japan. The temple has a rich history that dates back to the late 16th century when it was founded by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan’s greatest historical figures.

The temple’s original location was in Osaka, but it was relocated to its present site in Kyoto in the early 17th century. Higashi Hongan-ji is known for its large wooden structure and intricate architectural design, which is characteristic of the Momoyama period of Japanese history. Visitors to the temple can admire the ornate details of the wooden structures, which were built without the use of any nails or screws.

One of the most notable features of Higashi Hongan-ji is the “Founder’s Hall” or “Goei-do” in Japanese. This hall is dedicated to the founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism, Shinran Shonin. The hall houses a large statue of Shinran and is adorned with beautiful paintings and carvings depicting scenes from his life.

Another highlight of Higashi Hongan-ji is the “Amida Hall,” which houses a massive golden statue of Amida Buddha, the primary Buddha of the Jodo Shinshu sect. The statue is over 13 meters tall and is surrounded by intricate carvings and paintings.

Visitors to Higashi Hongan-ji can also participate in a variety of Buddhist activities, such as meditation sessions and sutra chanting. The temple offers guided tours in English, making it accessible for foreign tourists to learn about the temple’s history and significance.

In addition to its cultural and historical significance, Higashi Hongan-ji is a place of spiritual importance for many Japanese people. It serves as a place of refuge and contemplation, and visitors are encouraged to take a moment to reflect and appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.

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