May 30, 2024


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Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

There are two places in my mind when we travelled to Kyoto Japan earlier this year in January. They are the Kiyomizu-dera temple and Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Pavilion. For your information, Kiyomizu-dera and Kinkaku-ji  are listed as the Unesco Heritage List under Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities).

kinkakuji kyoto main entrance

I visited Kiyomizu-dera temple in the afternoon and traveling from the temple to Kinkaku-ji took us more than an hour by local bus. Thanks to our local friend, Mariko we managed to reach Kinkaku-ji on time before they closed. If you don’t understand Japanese, make sure you always equipped with your map and also your destination point, the locals will be more than happy to give you directions.

kinkakuji kyoto front gate

So what is Kinkaku-ji or the  (金閣寺 Temple of the Golden Pavilion), also known as Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺 Deer Garden Temple?), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually as being featured in a photograph in the desktop picture art of Apple’s OS X computer operating system. Yes, that picture is Kinkaku-ji.

kinkakuji kyoto entrance

The Golden Pavilion (金閣 kinkaku) is a three-story building on the grounds of the Rokuon-ji temple complex. The top two stories of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf. The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha’s Ashes). The building was an important model for Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion Temple), and Shōkoku-ji, which are also located in Kyoto. When these buildings were constructed, Ashikaga Yoshimasa employed the styles used at Kinkaku-ji and even borrowed the names of its second and third floors. – Wikipedia

kinkakuji kyoto price

We took a brisk walk from the main road to the entrance. The entrance fee was 400 Yen for Adult (Age 16 and above) and 300 Yen for Children (Age 7 – 15). The entrance of 400 Yen translates to around RM 16 or US$ 5 dollars.

The idea of traveling during winter was not an ideal one. Parks are usually closed earlier and the sky turned dark earlier too. We didn’t spend enough time as the sky was starting to dark around 4pm. We had to pace up or else it will be too dark for photos.

kinkakuji kyoto
Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion 

When we approached the lake, we were astonished by the elegant Golden Pavilion. You definitely don’t need any photo editing tools to take picture of this. It was beautiful and it looked exactly the same from the postcards, posters and also on the desktop of Apple’s OS X.

kinkakuji golden pavilion japan
Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion 

kinkakuji kyoto japan

The bad news was it was getting dark so we had to snap as many pictures as possible. The good news was it was getting colder. We were not lucky enough to witness snow but the 5 – 10 degree Celsius was not that harsh either.

kinkakuji kyoto back
Back of Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion 

kinkakuji golden pavilion

You can’t enter the Golden Pavilion so we could take pictures from far. We also took some pictures from the back of the pavilion as most people took the pictures from the front.

kinkakuji golden pavilion mini waterfall

The other uniqueness of this place was the garden. It was said that the Golden Pavilion is set in a Japanese strolling garden.

kinkakuji golden pavilion pathway

The location implements the idea of borrowed scenery that integrates the outside and the inside, creating an extension of the views surrounding the pavilion and connecting it with the outside world. The pavilion extends over a pond, called Kyōko-chi (鏡湖池 Mirror Pond?), that reflects the building. The pond contains 10 smaller islands.

kinkakuji places and foods buddha

The zen typology is seen through the rock composition, the brid¬ges, and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points were established because of the strategic placement of the pavilion to view the gardens surrounding the pavilion. A small fishing deck (釣殿 tsuri-dono) is attached to the rear of the pavilion building, allowing a small boat to be moored under it. –

kinkakuji golden pavilion lake

The kinkaku-ji grounds were built according to descriptions of the Western Paradise of the Buddha Amida, intending to illustrate a harmony between heaven and earth. The largest islet in the pond represents the Japanese islands. The four stones forming a straight line in the pond near the pavilion are intended to represent sailboats anchored at night, bound for the Isle of Eternal Life in Chinese mythology. –

kinkakuji places and foods sunset

We wished that we had more time so we can venture the garden. At the time, we left the park, the sky was already dark. The park staffs were closing the park too and all the small little stalls were closing. We didn’t want to be a nuisance.

kinkakuji places and foods

The Golden Pavilion was charming. It is one of the must visit places in Kyoto and in Japan. It was worth the time and the penny to visit this place. We will also blog about a famous sushi restaurant near the park soon. We hope to visit this place again in the future. We enjoyed our traveling experiences in Japan and hope to visit Japan soon.

How to go to Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Kinkaku-ji can be accessed from Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 220 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 250 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, around 900 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 220 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji. –

0 thoughts on “Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

  1. This landscapes and houses is what I admire most in Japan. These kind of structures endured the harsh climates in Japan and could last for hundred of years.

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