Attraction Kinkaku-ji, 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan Published on: 29-02-2016
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Why Kinkaku-ji Temple is special ?
Kinkaku-ji Temple, officially named Rokuon-ji , is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. The garden complex is an excellent example of Muromachi period garden design. The Muromachi period is considered to be a classical age of Japanese garden design. The correlation between buildings and its settings were greatly emphasized during this period. It was a way to integrate the structure within the landscape in an artistic way. The garden designs were characterized by a reduction in scale, a more central purpose, and a distinct setting. A minimalistic approach was brought to the garden design, by recreating larger landscapes in a smaller scale around a structure.
It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually.
What to explore at Kinkaku-ji Temple?
Kinkaku-ji Temple includes 3 floors and each floor represents a different style of architecture:
The first floor is built in the Shinden style used for palace buildings during the Heian Period, and with its natural wood pillars and white plaster walls contrasts yet complements the gilded upper stories of the pavilion. Statues of the Shaka Buddha (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored in the first floor.
The second floor is built in the Bukke style used in samurai residences, and has its exterior completely covered in gold leaf. Inside is a seated Kannon Bodhisattva surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings.
The third and uppermost floor is built in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall, is gilded inside and out, and is capped with a golden phoenix.
After viewing Kinkakuji from across the pond, visitors pass by the head priest's former living quarters which are known for their painted sliding doors, but are not open to the public. The path once again passes by Kinkakuji from behind then leads through the temple's gardens which have retained their original design from Yoshimitsu's days.
Continuing through the garden takes you to the Sekkatei Teahouse. Outside the exit are souvenir shops, a small tea garden where you can have matcha tea and sweets and Fudo Hall, a small temple hall which houses a statue of Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings and protector of Buddhism.
How to get to Kinkaku-ji Temple?
From Kyoto station take the No.101 or 205 bus to Kinkakuji-michi. From other areas, take a bus to Kinkakuji-michi (large bus stop on bus maps) or Kinkakuji-mae (closer to the temple)
Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 230 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, 1000-1200 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 230 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji.
- Impressive and Tranquil
- Most Iconic Temple in Kyoto
- The most popular beautiful sightseeing spot in Japan
- Golden reflections
- Spectacularly Beautiful
Kinkaku-ji, 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan
Tips for you
When you first see the beautiful Golden Pavilion, you have no words to describe this scene: a two story wooden structure covered with gold leaf and surrounded by one of the most picturesque Japanese garden landscapes! It is truly breathtaking! As you have probably viewed already, the photos depicted do not truly convey the magnificence of this place. In spite of thousands of visitors sprawled throughout the temple grounds, one can still feel the peace and serenity found only in the land of the rising sun! There are also many vantage points throughout the garden paths to allow for postcard photos of the landscape. This is a must see when in Kyoto!
A must visit temple. It is crowded, but you can get great shots as the sun starts to set and the light hits the gold plated pavilion.
My daughter and I came here on a Tuesday around 10:00a (operating hours 9:00a-5:00p daily). Since it was morning, it wasn't too crowded yet (including the city bus). General admission for adults (high school and up) was 400y and elementary/junior high students 300y. All I can say is WOW. It was just as picturesque as seen in magazines, brochures, postcards, etc. The landscape with the pond, trees, koi fish, and such were perfectly balanced and beautifully planned. I could have sat here for hours just staring at it (but my girl wasn't as awed as I was so had to move on). Unfortunately, this temple is as well as the former living quarters were not open to the public, so our visit here only lasted about an hour (1.5 hours top including browsing through the vendors and eating soft serve). Worth it nonetheless.