Architectural Treasures of Nishi Hongan-ji: Online Talk and Visit to the Karamon Gate

西本願寺:オンライントークと唐門見学

Karamon gate Nishi Hongan-ji Buddhist Temple

Image: Hongwan-ji

Pay a live virtual visit to the heart of Kyoto to discover the cultural and architectural treasures of Nishi Hongan-ji, a Buddhist temple designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Moved to the present location in 1591 CE, Nishi Hongan-ji is the head temple of the Hongan-ji branch of Jōdo Shinshū Pure Land Buddhism and its grounds include a number of structures which have been declared National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets of Japan.

Following an introduction to the history and architecture of Nishi Hongan-ji by Okamura Yoshiiji (Hongan-ji Historical Materials Research Institute), guests receive a guided virtual tour of one of its National Treasures: the Karamon gate. Adorned with colourful carvings of animals, plants and flowers, the lavishly decorated Karamon is thought to have been built in the 16th century. A near replica of the gate was created for the Japan-British Exhibition held at White City in London in 1910 and is currently in Kew Gardens, known as Chokushi-mon (Imperial Messenger Gateway).

During this live online event, moderated by Japan House London Programming Director Simon Wright, there is an opportunity for registered guests to ask questions to the speaker.

This event coincides with the Kew Gardens’ Japan festival, a celebration of the iconic plants, art and culture of Japan at Kew Gardens from 2 until 31 October 2021.

About the Speaker:

Okamura Yoshiji
Born in Nara Prefecture in 1962, Okamura Yoshiji is a researcher at the Hongan-ji Historical Materials Research Institute and lecturer at Musashino University whose research specializes in the history of the Hongan-ji branch of Jōdo Shinshū Pure Land Buddhism. His recent publications include Rennyo kinai tōkai o iku [Rennyo goes to Kinai and Tōkai] (published by Kokusho Kankōkai, 1997), Dare mo kakanakatta shinran [Shinran that nobody has written about] (co-authored; published by Hōzokan, 2010), and Nishihonganji e no Sasoi [Invitation to Nishi Hongan-ji] (published by Honganji Shuppansha, 2012).