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“Beautiful ginkgo trees”
Review of Nishi Honganji

Nishi Honganji
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$18.26*
and up
Kyoto Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Loop Bus
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$58.44*
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Kyoto Morning Tour: Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle
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$19.17*
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Nighttime Tour of Kyoto by Bus
Ranked #31 of 1,131 things to do in Kyoto
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed January 7, 2014

After a long walk from Sanjo- dori, I came across this shrine which perplexed me a bit with its shroud and scaffolding. Located right in the southern end of Kyoto ( a hop and a skip from Kyoto station) the shrine complex and garden are surrounded by a wall.
Parts of the restoration is completed and one can access the main shrine. As a working shrine worshippers were seen during my visit.
The rich and ornate interior details and structures of the main shrine is worth having a look.

The highlight for me were the ginkgo trees in various stages of autumn beauty. Some retained its full tree of leaves, some partial and others have lost all, displaying bare branches. Some parts of the grounds were like a thick yellow carpet whilst some of the leaves caught between the ridges of the roof tiles created a rather beautiful sight.
My visit to Nishi Honganji was in early December for those interested in seeing the ginkgo trees.
Many parts of urban Kyoto streetscape were full of ginkgo trees. Extremely delightful.

4  Thank birdcagewalking
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 7, 2014

After a day of shrine & temple hopping-sanjusangendo, the golden, ryoanji--i just wanted to rest my feet. But the UNESCO shrine, so close by--I googled photos and ran out the door to see the amazing blue dragons. We had only 45 minutes before the temple would close, but lucky us the altars/shrines were revealed at that point in the day--beautiful intricate gorgeous altars that we didn't expect to see. After some searching (and a helpful guard who understand my attempt to communicate) we found the gate that had so inspired me--stupendous. A joyous depiction of fantastical blue cavorting dragons, and colorful carved relief of cranes and more, all kinds of lushly beautiful depictions. But then it was 5pm, and the temple was closing. I felt very lucky to have seen it before we left Kyoto the next day.

2  Thank melbatoastnj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2013

Many of the attractions in Kyoto do not open until around 9AM, so if you are jet lagged like I was and you are up and ready to go at 6AM there is not much to do. Nishi Honganji is one of the few places open that early and its free so I decided to check it out. And I was stunned! The main building is massive. The supporting buildings are not exactly tiny, either. And the decorative elements adorning the structures were executed at a very high level: intricate wood carvings, metal sculpted gargoyles, intense paintings, hanging lanterns, etc. Photos are allowed. And it was so peaceful! It is an active temple but I was never made to feel like I was trespassing. And the crazy thing is that its pretty much in downtown Kyoto, amid the hustle and bustle of the big city. In other words, it is hiding in plain site! By all means, check this place out.

2  Thank Flat_Planet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2013

Like its neighbor, Higashi Honganji, this Temple lies mostly undiscovered. Perhaps it’s because they do not lie along a “Temple Route”, perhaps because they’re free so their architectural worth is subconsciously questioned. It certainly can’t be because of any deficit in beauty.

This Temple is architecturally more elaborate, ornate and complex than its neighbor to the east. Its Karamon Gate is a standout here.

The Temple is accessed by way of a decorative stone bridge (one of a few that cross a stream separating the Temple’s walls from the sidewalk). The main halls are elaborately decorated on the interior.

Given the price and the beauty of what is accessible, it’s a genuine mystery as to why they sit virtually deserted outside of those there to worship. Like its neighbor, Nishi will never compete for the city’s “premier sights” designation but both Temples are extremely beautiful and deserving of a visit nonetheless. As with its neighbor, it’s easily accessible by a number of bus lines as well as the city’s subway line serving Kyoto Station.

Perhaps it’s a blessing, though, that they are not discovered; the serenity and the ability to get great, unobstructed views and photos actually added to their appeal.

2  Thank Wanderlust7342
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 7, 2013

Having visited several "ancient" temples in Kyoto I was pleased and surprised to find this one.
It's FREE
It's GENUINE
It's NOT FULL of TOURISTS.
You CAN take photos.
Serene atmosphere, HUGE ancient buildings, genuine monks\worshipers. Idlic.
Close to Kyoto railway station, easy to get a bus to\from.

1  Thank ourunner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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