Kinkakuji Temple


When you think about gold, you naturally think about the link between trade and rich, between a king and his luxurious life. However, what about the combination of gold and religious, what will you think about a gilded temple? If you come to Kyoto - Kansai and admire the beauty of Kinkakuji temple, you will surely forget about your inborn concept of gold: the temple is not a valuable object but a religious wonder.

Kinkakuji temple, also called Golden Pavilion was built in 1397 as the retirement villa for Yoshimitsu Ashikaga- a commander in Muromachi period. Following his testament, after he died, his son turned the villa into a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect in 1408. Unfortunately, in 1950, a fanatical monk burnt the temple down together with six important cultural properties. The temple was rebuilt in 1955 and was plated by gold in the 1987 renovation then remains this architecture until now. The temple was very famous that it is referred in Japanese textbooks for students and also designated as UNESCO's world cultural heritage.
Gilded Kinkakuji
Inspired by the idea of the existence of heaven and its boundary with the Earth, Kinkakuji is placed overlooking the surface of Kyoko-chi meaning a mirror pond. From a distance, you feel like Kinkakuji is floating over the water with a lot of tree branches hanging down around.  There are several rocks and small islands representing for the foundation of Buddhism. All of them reflects in the crystal clear water and creates a impressive heaven scene. There are 3 floors with different architectures. Like other palace buildings in Heian period, the 1st floor is combined by wood pillars and bright white plaster walls. Thí floor houses statues of the Shaka Buddha and Yoshimitsu which visitors can only see clearly across the pond. The 2nd floor with Bukke style for samurai houses Kannon Bodhisattva statue surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, while the last floor is designed like a Chinese Zen Hall.
Inside the garden of Kinkakuji temple
But the most special about Kinkakuji temple is that the 2nd and the 3rd are covered by leaves of gold, the 3rd floor is even gilded both outside and inside. To make it more luxurious, a gold phoenix perches highly at the top of the temple. The scene when the gilded temple reflect in the quite water is  widely-recognized as the symbol, the image of Kyoto. Take your time on some deserted day to enjoy this breathtaking scene and don’t ever say that one time of visiting is enough because the sight changes for each moment. The gilded temple is more striking on sunshine but still bright in cold winter snow.  But it is believed that the temple is most beautiful in sunset when the orange light flows down to the phoenix to make it wriggle and after covering all the temple, flowing to the pond and spreading out over the surface.
Throw some coin into statues to get luck
The garden of Kinkakuji temple has many bonsais, some with the age of about 600 years old. There is a pond called Anmitaku which is believed to be never dry. If you see statues with many coins on their feet, you should throw one to get some luck from these Gods. Sekkatei Teahouse is an other interesting part of the temple. You can linger on and enjoy a cup of matcha and also the quiet atmosphere in the garden. They also sell some amulets inside the temple that you can buy a a gift for your relatives choosing from those of health, safety or love. You can immediately know your fortune by the fortune machine with 100 yen and get the result by English, Korean or Chinese.
Open time: 

From 9:00 am to 5:00 pm


400 yen for Adult

How to access: 

From Kyoto Station: take Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 (40 minutes and 230 yen) or take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) then take bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205 (10 minutes, 230 yen ) to Kinkakuji