The famous Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, is located in the north-western part of Kyoto, a short distance form Ryoan-ji. It is one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Kyoto. The reason for its popularity is that its main building is a majestic pavilion covered in gold leaf.
Built in the late 14th century, it went up in flames several times. After the last fire in 1955, it was rebuilt identically in the same year, and subsequently renovated in 1987. In 1994, it was listed a Unesco World Heritage site.
Huge crowds of foreign visitors flock to the temple and the garden that surrounds it as Kinkaku-ji is considered one of the most beautiful sites in Kyoto. If you are staying in the Kansai region’s major city, the temple is an absolute must-see.
It has become so popular that swarms of visitors have somehow stifled the sacred spirit and zen atmosphere of the site. In fact, the Japanese have largely turned their attention from Kinkaku-ji on account of the bling-bling quality of the Golden Pavilion, directing it to other Kyoto temples, mainly its silver counterpart in the eastern part of town: the Ginkaku-ji.
The Chinese, however, definitely love it!
How to get to Kinkaku-ji
- Number 12 or 59, Kinkakuji-mae station (¥220 / ~US$ 2.10) and a 3-minute walk
- Number 12, 59, 101, 102, 204 or 205, Kinkakuji-michi station (¥220 / ~US$ 2.10) and a 7-minute walk
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
¥400 (~US$ 3.70)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
How long / when to visit
Allow about one hour