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Kinkaku-ji

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

1 Kinkakujichō, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

JPY 400

Find it on google maps

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expert
Heng
Local tour guide
"Visit Kinkaku-ji Temple early in the morning right when they open to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more tranquil experience. Also, don't forget to check out the small tea garden at the back, where locals like to enjoy a moment of calm away from the main path – it's easy to miss but a blissful spot to ponder the beauty of the pavilion."

What is Kinkaku-ji Temple?

Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is a Zen Buddhist temple located in Kyoto, Japan. It's one of the most iconic structures in the country, famed for its top two floors completely covered in gold leaf. This architectural masterpiece is set against a picturesque backdrop, with a reflection of its gilded façade shimmering across the mirror-like pond before it. A true marvel of religious art and a testament to the extravagance of the Muromachi period, Kinkaku-ji draws visitors from around the world to its mesmerizing sights.

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History of Kinkaku-ji Temple

The history of Kinkaku-ji is as rich as its golden exterior. The temple dates back to 1397 when it was originally built as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After his death, the villa was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to Yoshimitsu's will. Over the centuries, Kinkaku-ji has witnessed numerous events, including being burnt down several times during wars and conflicts. The present structure, reconstructed in 1955, is a careful reproduction of the original and has been designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape. Additionally, it is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which were designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

Why is Kinkaku-ji Temple Important?

The significance of Kinkaku-ji goes beyond its golden glow; it is a symbol of Kyoto's historical and cultural prestige. It represents the harmony between heaven and earth, which is a cornerstone of Zen philosophy. Moreover, the Golden Pavilion's aesthetics have heavily influenced Japanese landscape gardening. It stands as a testimony to the craftsmanship and artistic expression of Japan's ancient architects and garden designers. Kinkaku-ji is not just an important cultural asset for Japan, but also a source of inspiration for countless artists, poets, and travelers who seek the beauty of impermanence and the teachings of Zen Buddhism.

Things to Do & See at Kinkaku-ji Temple

Visiting Kinkaku-ji is an immersive experience. Start with a serene walk through the beautifully maintained garden that leads to the temple, appreciating the intricate details of the landscape which have been designed to embody the principles of Muromachi-period garden design. Marvel at the stunning Golden Pavilion and its reflection in the pond, a view that's especially breathtaking when the sunlight hits the golden leaves or when it's framed by the delicate hues of cherry blossoms or the fiery colors of autumn leaves.

As you continue, you'll encounter the Sekka-tei Tea House, an important cultural artifact in its own right, where you can appreciate traditional Japanese tea culture. Don't forget to cast a gaze upon the Fudo Hall, which holds a statue of the Buddhist deity Fudo Myoo, known for its intense expression and historical significance. Before leaving, make sure to visit the Anmintaku Pond, which is said to never dry up, and look for the small islands and stones representing the Japanese archipelago and a turtle, which symbolizes longevity.

While at Kinkaku-ji, immerse yourself in the serenity that the place exudes, and let the teachings of Zen Buddhism manifest as you stroll through the grounds. It is a place to reflect, to admire, and, above all, to experience deeply with all your senses.

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Frequently asked questions

What is Kinkaku-ji Temple?

Kinkaku-ji Temple, also known as The Golden Pavilion, is a historic Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. It is famous for its top two floors completely covered in gold leaf and is surrounded by a tranquil pond and beautiful gardens.

Why is Kinkaku-ji called the Golden Pavilion?

Kinkaku-ji is called the Golden Pavilion because its top two floors are entirely covered in gold leaf, giving the structure an impressive, dazzling appearance that stands out amidst its natural surroundings.

When is the best time to visit Kinkaku-ji?

The best time to visit Kinkaku-ji is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. The temple is beautiful year-round, with each season offering a different picturesque view, including cherry blossoms in spring and colorful leaves in autumn.

Is photography allowed at Kinkaku-ji Temple?

Photography is allowed in the outdoor areas of Kinkaku-ji Temple, and it is a popular site for taking pictures. However, visitors should be respectful and aware of any signs that might restrict photography in certain areas or during specific times.

What cultural significance does Kinkaku-ji have in Japan?

Kinkaku-ji holds great cultural significance in Japan as a fine example of the extravagant Kitayama culture that developed during the Ashikaga shogunate. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important historical and architectural monument that reflects the aesthetic sense and religious beliefs of its period.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

1 Kinkakujichō, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361, Japan

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

JPY 400

Find it on google maps