Hōnen-in Temple, Kyoto, Japan


Honen-in, one of my favourite temples in all of Kyoto. 

My first visit two years ago was beautifully peaceful – the kind of peace that only comes when visiting a serene garden in the rain. Part of me was hoping for a little downpour this time round as well, but sadly that came on our walk home instead. Regardless, it was just as beautiful in the spring sunshine and as much of an uncrowded treasure as I remembered it was. 

Hōnen-In lies a short walk away from the more crowded Ginkakuji. A thatched gate, moss garden, tranquil koi pond and carefully raked white sand (Byakusadan) make up this beautiful, tranquil space. Despite visiting during cherry blossom season (the busiest time of year in Kyoto), we were two of only a handful of people there.

A perfect place to visit if you’re a fan of moss gardens and quiet shadowed spaces.

Visiting Honen-In Temple

Address: 30 Goshonodan-cho, Shishigatani, Sakyo-ku/ 左京区鹿ケ谷御所ノ段町30

Opening Hours: 06:00 – 16:00

Admission: Free

How to get there

From Shijo Kawaramachi catch bus #32 or bus #5 from Kyoto Station to Ginkakuji-mae. From there it’s a five minute walk.

Alternatively you can take the walk from Keage subway station stopping at Konchi-In and Nanzen-Ji on the way and taking in the sakura over the Philosophers walk en route.

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