Walking around Kyoto, I visited quite a few temples. Some of them were described in detail in guidebooks, others I came across out of cat curiosity.
Koushouji (Koshoji, superliteral reading "Spread Correct Temple", or more figuratively "Evangelion Temple") is a True Pure Land Buddhist monastery of the Shinshuu Koushouha ("True Pure Land Evangelistos").
In 1591 Koushouji and Honganji moved to its present site and operated like a single temple. The original Koushouji temple took 128 years to complete and was designated one of the Three Greatest Architectures of Japan. In 1876, the 27th head priest, Honjaku Shonin, declared Koushouji an independent temple and established the Shinshuu Koushouha.
Koushouji burned down again in 1902 in an accident. The 28th head priest, Honjo Shonin, rebuilt the complex as it was before. It was completed in only 10 years.
Part of the Koushouji complex is a modern building called the Koushou Kaikan (Evangelion Meeting Hall). This includes a dining room for visitors and guests, and an overpriced restaurant. They also teach English and yoga. High schools frequently stay there in the fall.
Higashi Honganji, officially known as Shinshu Honbyo, is the mother temple of the Shinshu Otani-ha branch of Jodo Shinshu (Shin Buddhism), whose founder is Shinran. It's one of the largest Buddhist denomination in Japan.
The founder's Hall (Goei-do) is one of the largest wooden constructions in the world, was rebuilt in 1895.
The image of Amida Buddha is enshrined on the altar in the Amida Hall (Amida-do).
Founder's Hall Gate (Goei-do Mon). This immense gate, built in 1911, is one of Kyoto's largest.
The official name of the temple is Rengeo-in or Hall of the Lotus King. It was built in 1164. The original temple building was lost in fire, but was reconstructed in 1266. The long temple hall, which is about 120 meters long, is made in the Wayo style architecture. As there are 33 spaces between the columns, this temple came to be called "Sanjusangen-do" (a hall with 33 spaces between the columns).
The principal images of Sanjusangen-do temple are the 1001 statues of the Buddhist deity Kannon. 1000 standing statues of Kannon and one gigantic seated statues, placed at the center of the standing statues are housed in the temple hall. The statues are made of Japanese cypress.
The 28 images placed in a straight line in front of the 1001 Kannon statues are guardian deities. Many of them have their origin in ancient India. There are also two famous statues of Thunder God and Wind God.
This is a temple established in 1594 by Yododono, concubine of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, for the memorial service for her father Nagamasa Asai; Hoin Seihaku (cousin of Nagamasa) was designated as the founder of the temple. Nagamasa's Buddhist name "Yogen'in" was used for the temple name.
The ceiling on the corridor of the main hall was originally used for the floor of Fushimi Castle and still shows the blood of Mototada Torii and other samurai warriors who fought to defend Fushimi Castle under the command of leyasu Tokugawa and committed suicide in the end of the fight as they lost. It was moved here to appease their spirits and is popularly known as the "blood ceiling".
The drawing on the doors made of Japanese cedar an fusuma the traditional sliding door (both designated as important cultural assets) were produced by Sotatsu Tawaraya. You can see such animals as Chinese lions, white elephants and giraffes on these cedar doors. They are full of originality and freshness, and are used in art education textbooks for junior high school and high school students.
Kennin-ji, a historic Zen Buddhist temple, was founded in 1202.
When first built, the temple contained seven principal buildings. It has suffered from fires through the centuries, and was rebuilt. Today Kennin-ji's buildings include the Abbot’s Quarters (Hojo); the Dharma Hall (Hatto); a tea house and the Imperial Messenger Gate (Chokushimon). It also has fourteen subtemples on the Kennin-ji precincts and about seventy associated temples throughout Japan.
This temple is located in a cemetery and tourists usually wander in here by accident. However, this quiet and beautiful place is very important for Buddhists, because of the grave of priest Shinran (founder of Jodo Shinshu).