Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto is the site of the Golden Pavilion, formerly called Rokuonji. The top two floors are completely covered in gold foil. The temple overlooks a large pond, and is especially picturesque when the sun is shining and the gold casts a reflection.
In 1397 the Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, purchased the site from a powerful statesman. Upon his dying wishes, the area was converted into a Zen Buddhist Temple.
Over the years, the temple has burnt down many times – the last in 1950. The current structure was rebuilt in 1955 and is an exact replica of the original.
Each of the three floors represents a different architectural style.
The first floor is open and can be viewed from across the pond. It is constructed in 11th century Heian style with natural unpainted wood and white plaster.
The second and third floors are not open to the public, but you can see photos on the temple grounds. The second floor is in the style of samurai warriors and the third floor is in traditional Chinese design.
There is a walking path that takes you around the temple gardens, which are the original design. The pond contains ten small islands arranged to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature.
Before you exit, there is a relaxing tea garden where you can enjoy a matcha green tea with a local Japanese sweet.
Kinkakuji Temple is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day. General admission is 500 yen. The admission for primary and middle school children is 300 yen. See the official website for more information.
How to Get There
To get to Kinkakuji Temple, take a bus to the Kinkakuji Michi bus stop. From Kyoto Station, there are direct buses that take about 45 minutes. If you don’t mind making a transfer, it’s faster to take the subway to Kitaoji and then get on the bus.
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