Seventeen. 17. That’s how many World Heritage temples and shrines comprise the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, and that’s one of many great things about this city that keeps me coming back.

The Goei-do Hall 「Founders Hall/御影堂」 is the main hall of Kōshōji built over 100 years ago, the largest building at Kōshōji. The hall features stunningly smooth wooden features and a large altar covered in gold.

Goei-do Hall 「Founders Hall/御影堂」 at Kōshōji in Kyoto (HDR Photo)
NIKON D5200 (18mm, f/8, 2.5 sec, ISO400)
Goei-do Hall 「Founders Hall/御影堂」 at Kōshōji in Kyoto (HDR Photo)

At the end of a 10 day trip around Kyoto and Wakayama, with only a couple of hours before the closing time of most sites in Kyoto, I headed to Nishi Honganji Temple 「West Honganji Temple/西本願寺」as it’s in the middle of the city, not too far from Kyoto station. After about 20 minutes looking around this temple, I started to think that this place was quite small to be World Heritage listed.

After seeing some large buildings on the other side of the large walls around the temple, I realised I was not actually in Nishi Honganji (which was next door) but Kōshōji. I was told this is a common mistake as the temples are next to each other, surrounded by the same moat and walls on the same block.

If you have a few minutes spare when visiting Nishi Honganji, take a walk next door to see this small but stunning temple.

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View this location – Map coordinates: 34.98975,135.752086.