Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto

A 14th century temple built during the shogun/samurai era, the Kinkaku-ji temple (Golden Pavilion) allows you to indulge in the cultural richness of Kyoto. A UNESCO World heritage site, this temple was originally a villa of a powerful Japanese shogun, and later converted into a Zen temple as per his will. The top two floors of this Zen Buddhist temple are coated with gold. The main building overlooks a pond and a garden in its complex, something very typical of temples built during the Muromachi period or the classical age of Japanese garden design. Interestingly most portions/structures inside the temple complex were burnt down in the mid 20th century. These burnt portions were rebuilt later on as an exact replica of the original version. This temple served as an inspiration to build Ginkaku-ji (silver pavilion) temple, a cousin of the Kinkaku-ji temple.

The pictures below were taken when it was raining at the Kinkaku-ji complex. Most of the pictures of Kinkaku-ji are often taken on clear days, and hence the rain allows you to see the iconic Kinkaku-ji in a slightly different light.

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                                      (Kinkaku-ji Temple)

Getting to the temple is quite easy by bus. Bus 59 goes to a stop called Kinkakuji-mae. There are sign boards pointing you to the temple once you reach this point.

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Once you enter the temple complex, you have to walk for a little bit before you reach the ticket counter. The temple complex is quite a big area.

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                                                 (ticket area)

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                              (living quarter of the head priest)

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                                                (ticket counter)

If you are lucky, you may spot a Japanese crane (picture below). This bird is very local to Japan.

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                                             (japanese crane)

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              (Gold plated temple with a bronze phoenix on top)

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                        (Bridge leading to the garden)

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                           (pond overlooking the main building)

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                      (a patio-like area in the main building)

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                                        (mini-waterfall)

There is a small hill behind the main building. Going to the top will give you different views of the Kinkaku-ji temple building.

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           (view from the hill with the bronze phoenix on top)

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                           (walking around the temple complex)

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                                           (view from the hill)

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                                                (garden with pond)

Below is a map of the Kinkaku-ji area. Kinkaku-ji temple is marked in blue, and the two yellow circles are the bus stops Kinkakuji-mae (bottom one) and Kinkaku-ji michi (top one).

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                                      (map of Kinkakuji area)

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Items: Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

Price: Around ₹239 or japanese yen 400 for entry.

Location: 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan

Telephone: +81 75-461-0013     Timings: 9 am to 5 pm, open everyday

Type: Cultural/Historic/UNESCO World Heritage Site

How to get there: By Bus – Take number 101 or 205 to Kinkaku-ji michi stop then walk 2 mins west. Takes 40 mins from Kyoto station and costs ₹131 or japanese yen 220 . You can also take bus 59, 12 to Kinkakuji-mae from where you walk 2 mins north. For bus map, go here and scroll all the way to the bottom to Other Information where it says: Route Map – City Bus Sightseeing Map “Busnavi”. Download the second option ‘download 2’.

Language: Mainly Japanese. May find English audio guide.

Also visit: Ginkaku-ji Temple (Silver Pavilion Temple) 

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