Kinkaku-ji is bound to be on your itinerary if visiting the temples of Kyoto. This iconic and majestic Golden Temple sits on the edge of a large pond that wonderfully reflects the brilliance of the building and is surrounded by magnificently manicured gardens.
The temple was formerly the retirement home of the shogun Ashikega Yoshimitsu before being bequeathed as a Zen Temple after his death in 1408.
Kinkaku-ji has been burned on numerous occasions throughout its history the last time in 1950 when it was set ablaze by a crazed monk! The structure you see today was rebuilt in 1955.
The top two floors of the pavilion are completely covered in gold leaf whilst the first floor is built in the Shinden style of the Heian Period using natural wood pillars with contrasting white plaster walls. On top of the Temple sits a golden phoenix.
Wandering around the pavilion gardens allows visitors to take photos of the pavilion from many perspectives – each being as beautiful and interesting as the next. It also doesn’t matter what season you visit Kinkaku-ji the scenery and atmosphere will be breathtaking.
Also in the Temple grounds you can observe the former living quarters of the head priest (not open to the public) and the Sekkatei Teahouse added to the grounds in the Edo Period.
Admission to Kinkaku-ji is 400 yen pp.