Did Nichiren Daishonin have the Gohonzon and chant to it?

Yes, Nichiren Daishonin had the Gohonzon and chanted the Daimoku.
The Daishonin invoked Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo for the first time on April 28th in 1253. Thereafter, he encouraged people to chant Daimoku in order to lead them to attain enlightenment. Even though he encountered numerous obstacles, the Daishonin never gave up his efforts to propagate the true Law.
After the Tatsunokuchi Persecution, on the way to his exile on Sado Island, the Daishonin stayed for awhile at the residence of Homma Rokuro-zaemon in Echi of Sagami (nowadays Atsugi, Kanagawa). There in Echi, the Daishonin inscribed the Gohonzon for the first time. Echi is located about five miles northwest of the Ebina rest area, where we usually stop on the way to the Head Temple from Narita. The next time you stop there, please remember the place called Echi, where the Daishonin first inscribed the Gohonzon, even though you may be busy enjoying an ice-cream or ramen noodles.
The Daishonin inscribed many Gohonzons during his lifetime, but the ultimate purpose of his advent into this world was to inscribe the Dai-Gohonzon. On October 1, 1279, the Daishonin stated:

The Buddha took forty-odd years, the Great Teacher Tiantai took thirty-odd years, and the Great Teacher Dengyo took twenty-odd years to accomplish the purposes of their advent. Great and severe persecutions befell them during those years. I have already spoken to you on that matter. It has taken twenty-seven years for me. The greatly severe persecutions I suffered during this period are well known to you all.
(Gosho, p. 1396)

The Daishonin finally inscribed the Dai-Gohonzon on October 12th, 1279 and it is now enshrined in the Hoando at the Head Temple Taisekiji. The Gohonzon is the life of the True Buddha, Nichiren Daishonin. In order to lead all people to attain enlightenment, the Daishonin taught us how to chant the Daimoku to the Gohonzon. Let’s follow our master, Nichiren Daishonin, in our practice.
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