Located in the northern area of Kyoto city, this is a zen based temple covered in gold leaf (popular coating of choice of the rich in old time japan). Once upon a time ago, it was actually a retirement villa for the founder of the Ashikaga shogunate (Ashikaga Takauji) but had willed it to the Rinzi sect of Zen Buddhism (one of the three main Zen sects) upon his death in 1408.
The present structure though is not the original, but a rebuild from 1955 after it was set on fire by a monk.
The temple is right at the entrance and picturesquely surrounded by a large pond.
It cannot be entered, but the inside of the 1st floor can be viewed from across the pond
Temple ground (meticulously manicured garden) is quite small but very pretty.
In the garden there is a coin toss rock structure, where the locals try to toss a coin into a small cup to fufil their wishes.
There is also a small tea house near the exit area where you can take a break with matcha and wagashi.
Entrance fee: 400yen
Open: 9am to 5pm, no rest days.
So when someone has vision's of Japan you imagine 2 things ... first... the modern neon lights, crowded Japan and then the 2nd vision is the peaceful gardens with ancient temples ...... And the Golden Pavilion is the perfect image of Japan .... stunning and beautiful. We got crystal clear skies the day we were there ..... Spent about an hour here and saw everything ....
The image of the temple richly adorned in gold leaf reflects beautifully in the water of Kyokochi, the mirror pond.
It is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kyoto. Seen reflected in the adjoining "mirror pond" with its small islands of rock and pine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see.
The building's first purpose was to serve the retiring Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1409) as a residence. The gold-leaf-adorned building was converted into a Zen temple shortly after his death. In an event that was later fictionalized by the renowned author Yukio Mishima, a 21-year-old monk burned Kinkakuji down in 1950. The temple was rebuilt in 1955 and continues to function as a storehouse of sacred relics.
The temple's garden is also a scenic delight and contains in its grounds a charming teahouse.
Be warned this is Kyoto's top attraction and it is extremely crowded ... we came here right when the doors open and within 10 minutes the place was packed .... mostly other Japanese tourist very few foreigner's ... entrance fee is 400 Yens ..... and you might have to wait but you'll get your chance for the perfect photo.
Three-storey Zen Buddhist temple. Each floor was done in different architectural style - the ground floor is Heian imperial architecture, the second floor typifies warrior aristocracy and the top floor is Chinese-inspired.
This pavillion is absolutely a sight to behold. It is stunning and well worth the visit. I visited in April, the air was bright and crisp, but it made for a perfect viewing day.
After viewing Kinkakuji from across the pond, you pass by the head priest's former living quarters (hojo) which are known for their painted sliding doors (fusuma), 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. The gardens hold a few other spots of interest including Anmintaku Pond that is said to never dry up, and statues that people throw coins at for luck.
Continuing through the garden takes you to the Sekkatei Teahouse, before you exit the paid temple area. Outside the exit are souvenir shops, a small tea garden where you can have matcha tea and sweets (500 yen) and Fudo Hall, a small temple hall which houses a statue of Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings and protector of Buddhism. The statue is said to be carved by Kobo Daishi, one of the most important figures in Japanese religious history.
Open 9am to 5pm daily.
Admission: Y400 general admission, Y300 Primary and Middle School Students. No discount for groups.
This is one of the most famous sites in Japan, the Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavilion. It is situated in a very pictureque setting, but the main downside is that you can't get all that close to it.
It's a magnificent photo-op, but not much more.
Kinkakuji is one of the most iconic temples in Japan, and I had spent quite a while in the area before deciding to visit. I was worried that Kinkakuji would not live up to all the hype about it, so when I finally committed to going, I admit I was sceptical...
When I finally entered and saw Kinkakuji, I was sucked in just like everyone else! It is absolutely spectacular, and the extravagance and flamboyance of it makes it stand out all the more in a country where simplicity and attune with nature are preferred!
The temple was built as a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Because a crazed monk set it aflame, the current structure only dates back to 1955. On clear days, the entire vista, including the temple is mirrored in the pond; it's gorgeous!
The rest of the precints feature a teahouse, souvenir shop, statues where people toss coins, and the former residence of the temple's priest.
Entrance is 600 yen.
There are some excellent audio guides to many of the principal Kyoto temples at www.iconicguides.com, including Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizudera, Nijo Castle and Tenryu-ji.
The entry and exit system at the Golden Pavilion is rather unique. Entrance through ticket booth and Exit through another path which is not manned nor controlled. Virtually, everyone can get entrance to the Golden Pavilion (without paying) if they mistakenly goes through the Exit path.
I almost did but then realised that it better to follow the crowd's heading.
I had been told by a Japanese friend that I HAD to visit this temple as it was probably the most beautiful in Kyoto, so, when I finally woke up a morning with no rain, I ran to the station and took the first bus to come here.
I arrived here at 9 am just a few minuts after it opened and found something like 300 students(enlarge the second picture) with blu uniform ready to take a picture to everything that was in front, back, up or down of them.
The pavillon itself is beautiful but the all place is really too crowded or at least it was when I was there.
Anyway the golden pavillon, originally was a villa, then, it became a temple for the will of Yoshimitsu, this is a similari story as the zen Nanzenji temple which is also not far from here.
Opening time 9 to 17.
Ticket price 400 yen.
Kinkakuji is a Zen temple known as Rokuonji. In 1397 construction started on Golden Pavillion as part of a new residence for the retired shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After his death in 1408, it was converted into a Zen temple. The Golden Pavillion houses sacred relics of Buddha and is covered in gold leaf. The present building was built in 1955 while the previous one was burnt by a fanatic monk in 1950. The admission fee is 400 JPY. It is open daily from 9:00 to 17:00.
The Golden Pavillion was originally built as a retirement villa for the shogun Ashikagha yoshi-mitsu in 1397. It was his wish that it be converted to a temple on his death. In 1950, it was burned to the ground by a crazy monk who had an obsession with the temple. it was reconstructed in 1955.
The 3 floors are constructed in different styles. The first story is 'Palace' style, the second is 'Samurai' style and the 3rd 'Zen Temple' style.
The pond that reflects the Temple so beautifully is called Kyoko-chi (mirror pond). There is an interesting tea house, "Sekka-tei", on the walk around the grounds which was restored in 1997. Also found on the walk is a pretty waterfall, and a little stone shrine where people were tossing coins. Hopefully it was for some good reason, 'cause we joined in!
Come early as it gets busy!
I must say that Rokuon-ji or also known informally as Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion Temple) is the most impressive temple in Kyoto.
The temple was built by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu for his retirement villa in 1397.
It was his son who converted the building into a Zen temple of the Rinzai school.
The temple was burned down twice during the Ônin War.
This temple is a three-story building with the top two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf.
This temple is closely associated with Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion Temple) built by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, his grandson.
There are so many people forming in line to pray for many things at the shrine located at the Kinkakuji Temple. The shrine is very small compared to other temples in Kyoto. There is a place to write down your wishes and prayers and there are translations in each of every wish or prayer.
There is also a box where people make donations. It is very fascinating to see how people freely give donations for the shrine.
It is quite a walk to get into the temple. However, with a good pair of walking shoes, the walk is pretty relaxing and invigorating. The landscape of the garden is so beautiful. The stepping stones are neatly layered on top of each other and to walk on the sand is nice. The bonsai trees are neatly shaped and trimmed!
The Kinkakuji Temple is one of the most beautiful sight I have ever seen that was built by man. The beauty of the nature compliments the spectacular architecture of the temple. The landscape is such a delight to see what with the colorful reds and yellows of the autumn leaves of the Japanese maple trees. The green bonsai trees are reflected as the sun sets just above the giant pine and maple trees and the sunlight hits the solemn water that is fronting the Kinkakuji temple.
Just imagine what were the people thinking when they built this beautiful temple and how the succeeding generations preserved this ancient work of art. I can only be grateful for the ancestors and the new generations who knew how to preserve this temple in order for me and other people to experience and see how beautiful the temple was!
(Note:The following notes were lifted from the flyer of the Kinkakuji Temple)
History: Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion) is a popular name for one of the main buildings of this temple, which is properly called Rokuon-ji Temple. In the 1220's it was the comfortable villa of Kintsune Saionji.
Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga, abdicated the throne in 1394. After three years, he began to build Itayamaden and he made a special effort to make it a breath-taking site. he indulged in his peaceful life in this serene setting. After Yoshimitsu;s death, Kitayamaden was made into a Zen temple in accorddance with his will. All the buildings of those days came to ruin except Kinkaku. The garden, however, remains as it was in former days and ca be enjoyed as it was hundreds of years ago. Rokuon-ji Temple was inscribed as World Cultural Heritage in 1994.
Points of interest: The name of the pond is Kyoko-chi (Mirror pond). The pond contains many large and small islands. Climbing a few steps, yu stand at the edge of another small pond, An-min-taku. The small stone pagoda on the island is called Hakuha-no-tsuka (the mound in memory of the white snake).