An accidental visit to Higashi Honganji

I sped past this complex when I first arrived in Kyoto. But a few days later when I hiked in the general direction of my hotel, I passed by the site once again. This time I crossed over a moat and entered through the Founder’s Hall Gate into the temple complex, Higashi Honganji, officially known as Shinshu Honbyo.

Higashi Honganji entrance, Kyoto
Higashi Honganji entrance, Kyoto

The Founder’s Hall (Goei-do) was dedicated to Shinran who was born in Kyoto in 1173 and entered upon the Buddhist path at the age of nine. But the present day buildings were only around 120 years old as previous buildings had been destroyed by fire four times.

Amida-do, Higashi Honganji, Kyoto
Fine detail on Amida-do, Higashi Honganji, Kyoto

I chose the perfect time to wander the buildings that were the mother temples of a branch of aka Shin Buddhism. Although Kyoto was crowded with bus loads of tourists, there were few others around on that late afternoon while I meandered over wooden floors.

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