Nishi Hongan-ji Kagoshima Betsuin


The current building of this large Buddhist temple near Tenmonkan dates from 1982 and was renovated in 2013. Inside, it's unlike most temples you may have seen, with carpeting and chair seating in its main hall, but it's worth a quick visit for the intricate gilded carvings around the altar and the contemporary fusuma-e paintings of roiling seas and giant lotuses flanking the central image of the Amida Buddha.

As a Jōdō Shinshū (Pure Land) sect temple, it has an interesting history. The sect was banned by the Satsuma regime. According to the temple, some 140,000 followers were arrested during Satsuma rule, and the sect's followers went underground. The temple did not re-emerge until 1876, after the Meiji Restoration, only to have its main buildings destroyed in WWII air raids.

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