Karamon Gate of Nishihongwan-ji (Hongwanji) Temple

Hongwanji, also known as Nishi Hongwan-ji, very famous as a World Heritage Site, is the headquarters of the Hongwanji denomination of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-school).

The Karamon (唐門, a type of gate seen in Japanese architecture, often used at the entrances of temples and shrines) on the premises is also referred to as Higurashi no Mon (日暮門), meaning that its viewers will be so totally engrossed by its beauty that they don't notice when the sun (日) goes down (暮れる). The gate is adorned with absolutely gorgeous carvings of auspicious animals all over, such as giraffes, Hohoh (鳳凰, Chinese imaginary phoenix), dragons, tigers, Karajishi (唐獅子, lions), and peacocks. It's so rare to be able to see such variety of carvings in one place. In addition, the gate has a classic Hiwada-buki roof (檜皮葺屋根, a roof made of white cedar barks), which is a traditional and exquisite roofing method very unique to Japan. Hirurashi no Mon is arguably unrivaled in all of Japan.

Kyoto city has experienced so many fires and has become a burnt field. I think this is nothing but a miracle to have this Karamon saved in such a complete state. The beauty of Karamon is simply breathtaking and is not to be missed.

Akane Kibune


Nishi Hongwanji Mae, Kyoto city bus





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