Chion-in in Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan is the headquarters of the Jodo Shu (Pure Land Sect) founded by Hōnen (1133–1212), who proclaimed that sentient beings are reborn in Amida Buddha’s Western Paradise (Pure Land) by reciting the nembutsu, Amida Buddha’s name.
The vast compounds of Chion-in include the site where Hōnen settled to disseminate his teachings and the site where he died.
The original temple was built in 1234 by Hōnen’s disciple, Genchi (1183–1238) in memory of his master and was named Chion-in. While the temple was affiliated more closely in the early years with the Seizan branch of Jodo Shu, its 8th head priest, Nyoichi (1262–1321) was deeply influenced by the priest Ryōkū, a disciple of Ryōchū who was the 3rd head of the Chinzei branch of Jodo Shu Buddhism, and disciple of Bencho.
By 1450, Chion-in had become fully under control of the Chinzei branch, but had little direct control, due to the outbreak of the Onin War. Numerous buildings in the complex were burnt down in 1633, but were entirely rebuilt by the third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu (1604–51) with the palatial structures that stand today.