Nishi & Highasi
Hongan Temples

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Why the
Nishi and Higashi
Hongan Temples are special

The architecture and shared histories of these two temple complexes in Kyoto are fascinating.

History in brief

In 1602, the famous Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu successfully split a well-established Buddhist body into two parts out of fear of its growing power and wealth. They were named:

Nishi ("Western") Hongan

Highasi ("Eastern") Hongan



Both are Buddhist Pure Land sects (with Nishi having the most mass appeal).

Both are the home temples for their respective sects.

Each has many millions of followers. However, the Nishi has more than twice as many. It's also more tightly organized and has a greater global presence.

Both are situated in the same section of Kyoto, just several blocks apart.

Each has an imposing Main Hall, Amida Hall, and Main Gate with superb architectural and decorative elements. Both also have celebrated statues.

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