Honen-in stands on the site where priest Honen founded the Jodo sect of Buddhism. The current main hall dates from 1680. While many generations of monks have studied Honen's doctrine at Honen-in, the 20th century saw the temple turn more into a family sanctuary. After the second World War, Honen-in became a private entity, separated from the Jodo sect. As many temples, Honen-in is now mostly caring for the deceased (funerals, cemetery, etc).
Apart from rare exceptional openings, the temple itself is closed to the public. However, the grounds in front of the buildings and its famous moss-covered gate are open year round. The gate (Sanmon 山門) opens on a garden with two sand mounds on either sides of the path that leads to the temple. The mounds have various seasonal patterns drawn on them. The path leads to a small bridge over a dark pond that contains a few carps. After the bridge the path continues to the right behind the temple buildings where public access ends.
Honen-in is a classic stop when visiting the string of temples along the philosopher's path. It is located a few minutes on foot from Ginkaku-ji. Access to the open grounds is free.
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Nearby: Yōji-ya よーじや銀閣寺店 (300m), Reikan-ji 霊鑑寺 (340m), Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺 (350m), Anraku-ji 安楽寺 (360m), Wachu-an 和中庵 (380m), Hakusa Sonsō Villa 白沙村荘 (490m), Sakuradanicho 47 桜谷町47 (520m), Ōtoyo-jinja 大豊神社 (610m), Shinyo-dō 真如堂 (770m), Kōun-ji 光雲寺 (770m),...
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Keywords: Japan, 日本, Japon, Kyoto, 京都, 左京区, Sakyo-ku, Honen-in, temple, 寺院, 仏閣, 法然院