About us

Our main building captured from 1st Street
Our main building captured from 1st Street
Wisteria is the symbol of Nishi Hongwanji
Wisteria is the symbol of Nishi Hongwanji

 Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (LAHHBT or "Nishi") has been serving Southern California since 1905. It belongs to the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, one of the largest denominations of the Pure Land stream of Mahayana Buddhism. As a betsuin 別院, our temple is a direct branch of Nishi Hongwanji-ha in Kyoto, Japan.



1. The spirit of equality: respecting the life of all beings.

2. The spirit of independence: awakening to the universal truth of oneness and living this truth.

3. The spirit of self-searching: reflecting continuously on one’s true nature.

4. The spirit of gratitude: to be alive.

5. The spirit of peace: to encourage all beings to co-exist in peace and prosperity.




The temple’s main hall is called Hondo. It is the place which we gather to listen to the Teachings of the Buddha. Providing guidance and instruction in the Buddha-Dharma at the temple are ministers.


The temple provides the venue and the opportunity to listen to the Dharma and study the teachings in depth through such religious activities as Dharma services, seminars, workshops, special observances, and special events. Another objective of the temple is to provide assistance, through various means, for the welfare of the community, extending beyond the circle of the sangha. As the central focus of the community, the temple and its members, both ministers and lay people, have the responsibility for society at large. It may also occur that the temple is regarded as a cultural center, offering a wide range of programs, all aimed at cultivating the Dharma and in particular, the teaching of Jodo Shinshu.


The Board of Directors supports the ministers in managing the business of the temple. Committees are established on occasion to plan and formulate temple activities. To further make the Nembutsu practice an integral part of their everyday life, Sangha members are encouraged to participate in activities and programs for propagating and promoting the Jodo Shinshu teaching.

Temple History

1905  Southern California Buddhist Church established in Los Angeles on Jackson Street with its first resident minister, the Rev. Koyu Uchida.
1917  The name of the church changed to Hongwanji Buddhist Church of Los Angeles, and its location changed to Yamato Hall.
1918 Fujinkai (Women’s Association) established.
  Young Buddhist Association organized.
1925 New temple built at Central Avenue and First Street.
1931 Mother Hongwanji Temple in Kyoto confers Betsuin status to temple, a first for Buddhist Churches of America temples. Temple called The Hompa Hongwanji Los Angeles Betsuin. Twenty branches, including Gardena, Pasadena, and others, more than ten Fukyojyo (buildings for Dharma), in Anaheim, Venice, and others, and eleven Sunday Schools with about 1,120 students were established.
1940 Constitution and by-laws of Los Angeles Betsuin formalized. Name officially changed to Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple.
1941 Betsuin closed during World War II. Betsuin facilities used for storage by some Japanese American evacuees.
1945 Betsuin offered as a hostel for evacuees returning from relocation camps. Religious organizational activities resumed.
1947 Fubokai (Dharma School parents’ organization) established under the name Ijikai.
1951 Nishi Matrons group organized.
1954 Betsuin starts radio program, The Betsuin Hour.
1956 Young Adult Buddhist Association organized.
1957 Nishi Hongwanji Culture Classes opened.
1964 60th year commemoration service of the establishment of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji.
1969 Newly constructed temple opened at present location, 815 East First Street, with Gomonshu Kosho Ohtani, presiding. 
  Boy Scout Troop 738 organized.

Japanese garden in front of Betsuin dedicated. 

Kohaku Uta Gassen (New Year’s Japanese Song Contest) started.

  Cub Scout Pack 738C organized.
1971 Hideya Chiji, Japanese painter, completes murals de-picting the life of Shakyamuni Buddha which are mounted on the walls of the Hondo (main chapel).
  Statue of Shinran and His Disciples depicting scene at Kotagahama, Japan unveiled; statue donated by Mr. Seiichi Hirose of Japan.
1973 Twelve foot statue of Shinran Shonin dedicated. The statue was donated by Mr. Seiichi Hirose of Japan.
1976 Dedication of newly built Kaikan (gymnasium).
1979 Bell Tower dedicated to house large Bell of Dana donated by philanthropist, Mr. Yehan Numata.
1980 75th year commemoration service of establishment of temple held with Gomonshu Koshin Ohtani presiding.
1985  Dedication of twin stone lanterns at entrance to temple. Lanterns were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Masashi Kawaguchi on commemoration of 80th year since founding of temple.
1989 20th year commemoration service of relocation of temple to present location with former Gomonshu Kosho Ohtani presiding.
1995 90th year commemoration service of establishment of temple held with Gomonshu Koshin Ohtani presiding.

Centennial commemoration service of the establishment of the Los Angeles Hompa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple will be held.


Our organization (USA)

Our mother temple (Japan)