Honkoji Temple, located alongside the Araki River and a 5-minute walk from Hida-Furukawa Station, is an architectural feat of carpentry. The temple’s natural wood tones not only highlight the masterful craftsmanship but also create a humble atmosphere of tranquillity. Highlights of Honkoji are the exquisitely crafted temple gate and the main hall, which is the largest wooden building in the wider Hida region. The temple also contains a silk-colored portrait of the founding deity that was endorsed by Rennyo Shonin, a former head priest of Kyoto's Honganji Temple. This rare item is designated as an Important Tangible Cultural Property of Gifu Prefecture.
On January 15th, residents and visitors gather in Hida Furukawa to visit Honkoji, as well as the temples of Shinshuji and Enkoji, for Santera Mairi, an annual winter festival tradition. The event was originally meant to commemorate Shinran Shonin, the founder of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist path, but today is focused more on people’s wishes for good relationships. In the evening, the streets and canals are illuminated with the soft glow of candlelight, creating a warm, romantic atmosphere that effectively combats winter’s chill.