Kyoto is famous for many things like traditional treats such as Yatsuhashi and gorgeous sites like Nijo Castle. Anyone planning on coming to Japan has seen Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion Temple. The temple is located on the western valley wall in the Kita ward, the surrounding vegetation and the layout makes this the perfect place for a memorable picture.
The Golden Pavilion Temple
The official name of this temple is actually Rokuonji Temple, but is better known by either Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion and it was built in 1397. The history of the Golden Pavilion dates back over 700 years and was originally built as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the ruling shogun at the time. Following the death of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and in accordance to his will, the area was transformed into a temple for Zen Buddhism. The temple itself is popular because of the shining facade and gold pavilion. Although the structure has burned down numerous times from war to even arson, it is rebuilt every time just as it was. In fact, the most recent arson incident happened because of Yukio Mishima’s novel about the temple. Currently, the temple is recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site.
Enjoy the Sites
The first thing to notice when arriving is the overall serenity. The atmosphere of the temple is immediately apparent when you first walk through the gates. The tranquility and quietness of the area creates an almost spiritual atmosphere. Walking around the temple, you will see different views and angles of the temple, each one showing off a different part of the immaculately maintained garden and temple.
The temple itself is situated in a pond and the path leads you around the perimeter and through the garden. While taking a photo, you will notice the perfect reflection created by the untouched waters. In every season, the garden and temple is gorgeous. The architecture incorporates shinden, samurai, and zen influences on each floor.
Spring brings lush greens, cherry blossoms and a wonderful contrast, summer is similar with dark rich greens to highlight the gold on the temple, and fall brings changing leaves and it leaves a warm glow. In winter, the pure white snow covers the landscape of the Golden Pavilion and the scenery is breathtaking.
The mix of nature and elegant design almost summarizes Kyoto architecture and it is no wonder why the Golden Pavilion rank as one of the premiere tourist destinations not only in Kyoto, but all of Japan.
[map lat=”35.03937″ lng=”135.729243″][/map]
Address: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita ward, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Access: 24 minute walk from Kitanohakubaicho Station
Hours: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
400 yen (Adults)
300 yen (Children)
Website: Kinkakuji Temple (Japanese)