Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto is a most beautiful and amazingly stunning temple in Kyoto. You must really visit it to appreciate it. Visit it at the right time and you will be treated to the most pretty photos you can take.
The temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site ! Visit this temple and compare it with Kiyomizu-dera temple too. Or visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine too. All three are worth a visit but I feel that Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto is damn beautiful (especially in the afternoon !).
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About Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto
Kinkakuji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is one of Kyoto’s most iconic and visited attractions. Here are some key details:
- History and Origin: Kinkakuji was originally built as a retirement villa for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in the late 14th century. After his death, it was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple, as per his wishes.
- Architectural Beauty: The temple is celebrated for its unique architectural style. It consists of three stories, with each level showcasing a different type of architecture – the first floor is in the Shinden style, the second floor in the Buke style, and the third floor features a Chinese Zen hall style. The top two stories are adorned with gold leaf, giving the temple its famous name.
- Surrounding Gardens: The temple is situated within beautifully landscaped gardens, including a large pond called Kyoko-chi (Mirror Pond) that reflects the temple’s golden image. The gardens are meticulously designed and maintained, making them a peaceful and picturesque place to explore.
- Cultural Significance: Kinkakuji is an important cultural symbol in Japan. It represents the fusion of different architectural styles and reflects the historical development of Japanese culture. The temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Visiting Experience: When visiting Kinkakuji, you can take a leisurely walk around the temple grounds, enjoy the serene atmosphere, and appreciate the stunning views of the temple, especially when it shimmers in the sunlight. There are also tea houses where you can savor traditional Japanese tea and sweets.
- Seasonal Beauty: Kinkakuji is stunning year-round, but it’s particularly famous for its beauty in different seasons. In spring, cherry blossoms surround the temple, while in autumn, the maple trees provide a breathtaking backdrop of vibrant red and orange hues.
- Visitor Tips: To make the most of your visit, it’s advisable to arrive early to avoid crowds. The temple can get quite busy, especially during peak tourist seasons. Additionally, be respectful of the rules and customs within the temple, such as removing your shoes before entering certain buildings.
Kinkakuji’s combination of historical significance, architectural splendor, and natural beauty makes it a must-visit destination for anyone exploring Kyoto and wanting to immerse themselves in Japanese culture and history.
How I got to Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto
Because I was visiting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, I took this route (to the best of my recollection) to Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto.
After visiting Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (and the great fun we had at the river), we walked to the Kimono Forest.
Arashiyama Station (嵐山駅) is right next to Kimono Forest and from there, we took a local train to Katabiranotsuji Station.
It was fun standing at the head of the train and watch the train going through small towns and behind houses.. cool.
From Katabiranotsuji Station, we crossed over to the other platform and then take the train to Kitanohakubaicho Station.
The cute Randan train
Outside of Kitanohakubaicho Station, we took a bus (bus 204 or 205) from the main road (Kitano Hakubaich) to Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto.
At Kitanohakubaicho Station, they even have a bus guide for you.
Or even signs. It is just 1.5km from the bus stop to the temple
Or just follow the crowd 🙂
Once you are on the bus, there are even bus stop information INSIDE the bus which will inform you when they are reaching the temple. Don’t worry you will not get lost.
This google map summarised the way of how I got from Arashiyama Station to Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto.
Entrance to The Kinkakuji
Once you reached, it is just a short walk from the main road to the temple entrance.
You do have to pay an entrance fee. Amazing unique admission ticket, right.
The golden temple located right in the middle of Kinkakuji is known as “Kinkaku,” which translates to “Golden Pavilion” in English. It is the central and most iconic building within the Kinkakuji complex, covered entirely in gold leaf, and is the primary focus of visitors when they explore the temple grounds.
The back of the golden temple
Other Attractions at The Kinkakuji Golden Temple
While the central Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) is the main attraction at Kinkakuji, there are several other noteworthy features and attractions within the temple complex that enhance the overall visitor experience:
- Sekka-tei Tea House: This traditional Japanese tea house is located on the eastern side of the Mirror Pond (Kyoko-chi). It offers visitors the opportunity to enjoy matcha green tea and Japanese sweets while savoring the scenic views of the garden.
- Mirror Pond (Kyoko-chi): The large pond in front of the Golden Pavilion not only creates stunning reflections of Kinkaku but is also surrounded by a beautiful garden. You can take a leisurely stroll along its shores and enjoy the serene atmosphere.
- Anmintaku Pond: This smaller pond is situated to the northeast of the Golden Pavilion and is known for its lush greenery and the Anmintaku Bridge. The reflection of Kinkaku in this pond is also captivating.
- Fudo Hall: Located to the left of Kinkaku, this building enshrines the deity Fudo Myoo and features a fiery red appearance in contrast to the gold of the main pavilion.
- Kannonden Hall: This hall is where visitors can offer prayers and make offerings. It contains a statue of the Shaka Buddha, and visitors can pay their respects here.
- The Sekkatei Teahouse: This teahouse, located away from the central pavilion, offers a quieter and more contemplative setting for enjoying matcha tea.
- Garden Walks: Kinkakuji has meticulously landscaped gardens with various walking paths that allow visitors to appreciate the seasonal beauty, including cherry blossoms in spring and colorful foliage in autumn.
- Souvenir Shops: There are souvenir shops on the temple grounds where you can purchase traditional Japanese handicrafts, incense, and other mementos.
- Seasonal Events: Kinkakuji often hosts special events and illuminations during festivals and seasonal celebrations, providing unique experiences for visitors.
While the Golden Pavilion is the highlight, the combination of these features makes Kinkakuji a comprehensive and immersive destination, offering both natural beauty and cultural experiences within its serene environment.
There are lots of opportunities to throw a coin and pray for good luck.
Or light a good luck candle (and make a wish). As usual, my $5 million Toto Dream did not come true though 🙂
Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto : Visit Or Not
Yes Please Visit Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion Kyoto ! I have shown the way from Arashiyama Station but if you are coming from downtown Kyoto, it should be pretty easy. Buses in Kyoto are easy and friendly to the tourists so just grab your Suica Card on your iPhone and be on your way to this amazingly beautiful temple.