Japanese temples don’t come much grander than Higashi-Hongan-ji. It’s one of the best sights near Kyoto Station. Five minutes walk and you’re there.
Higashi Hongan-ji: SandraSWC / Shutterstock.com
Walk straight out of the Karasuma Gate (main north exit) of Kyoto Station, pass the Starbucks and Yodobashi Camera, cross Shichijo-dori Street and you’ll find yourself standing in front of a truly staggering sight: Higashi-Hongan-ji Temple. Everything about this temple is on a vast scale, starting with the main gate and continuing to the main hall (the Goei-do Hall), which is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. You can enter the mains halls for free and you should do just that. While the altars and Buddha images are usually hidden behind enormous sliding doors, the halls themselves are spectacular. Gold leaf abounds and you can sit quietly on the floor and soak up the atmosphere for as long as you want. If you’d like to do some sightseeing as soon as you arrive in town, this should be your first stop.
Karasuma-dori, Shichijo-agaru, Shimogyo-ku
Non-smoking area: Yes
5min walk from JR Kyoto station Karasuma central gate
Official Website (English)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- A prepaid Icoca card makes travelling around Kyoto easy - here's how.
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)