Chion-In Temple is one of the most sacred sites in Kyoto, Japan. Chion-In Temple is said to be the head temple for Jodo (pure land) sect of Buddhism. The temple was originally built by the priest Honen who is said to be the founder of Jodo sect (pure land Buddhism) and it is a place where the Jodo priests used to stay. The gate of Chion-In is the largest wooden gate in Japan till date.
The temple was built in the year 1234. Pure land Buddhism was actually founded in the year 1175 by the priest Honnen who used to teach that one could be reborn in the Jodo sect simply by reciting “amida amida amida Buddha” in devotion and faith. Due to the simple teachings and simple applications to the common people, the Jodo Buddhism became the most popular sect in Japan. Honen died in the year 1212 on the site of the temple.
The gate of the Chion-In Temple is the main attraction and it has a copper bell which is also the largest bell in Japan famous for its tolling in the midnight especially during the New Year’s Eve. The bell is said to be the heaviest in Japan which is of 74 tons. Chion-In Temple’s bell takes at least 17 monks to ring during the eve and this kind of amazing sight can only be seen near the temple. The main hall is so huge that 3000 people can occupy the hall and there is also a corridor behind main hall which leads to “UGUISU-BARI” (Assembly Hall) which was built with the finest architecture.
The easiest way to reach the temple is to travel through Tozai line which takes to Higashiyama station. From Higashiyama station, it takes about 10 minutes to reach the temple by walking. Temple grounds are always open and there are no closing days where the admission is absolutely free of cost. I would suggest the readers not to miss an opportunity of visiting the greatest temple of Buddha sect if planning a vocation to Japan.