While exploring the area around our hotel, we stumbled on Ryukoku University [龍谷大学]. The university sits next to Nishi Hongan-ji Temple [西本願寺], which was disappointingly undergoing renovations when we visited.
We stood near the gate admiring the university’s impressive main building for awhile, not knowing if tourists were allowed to enter, when an older gentleman who was sitting in the security booth called out to to us, “Hello! Do you want to take pictures?” He motioned us to come closer and began with a delightful smile to tell us the university’s history.
Nishi Hongwan-ji was founded in 1272 by the nun Kakushin. She was the daughter of the monk Shinran, who is the founder of the Jodo Shinshu religion. The history of Ryukoku University commenced with the opening of Jodo Shinshu’s Gakuryo educational facility at Nishi Hongan-ji in 1639 [Kyoto & Shiga – Ryokoku University].
The main building’s construction began in January 1877, when Priest Myonyo took office as the 21st chief abbot of Hongan-ji Temple. It was completed in May, 1879.
The two-story wood-frame stone plastered building has a hipped roof and clay tiles. It was the first among important western-style buildings of the time in the Kansai region.
All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.