A Golden Temple, Kyoto’s most iconic sight to present a lovely place for strolling and meditation while viewing Its shining surface.

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) , a Zen temple in northern Kyoto is one of Kyoto’s most visited sites along with Kiyomizudera and Ginkaku-ji. The temple was built at the end of the 14th century originally as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the shogun at the time. After Yoshimitsu’s death, according to his will it became a Zen temple, which is famous for the practice of “zazen”, or religious meditation. The shining Kinkaku-ji is a symbol of Kyoto. It has burned down numerous times throughout its history.  The present structure was rebuilt in 1955, and all of the gold leaf has been replaced in 1987.

Kinkaku-ji was built to reflect the extravagant Kitayama culture that developed in the wealthy aristocratic circles of Kyoto during Yoshimitsu’s times. Each floor represents a different style of architecture.

The Golden Pavilion


This world cultural heritage pavilion’s top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The first floor is built in the Shinden style used for palace buildings during the Heian Period. The second floor is built in the Bukke style used in samurai residences. And the third and uppermost floor is built in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall.

“Kyo-ko-chi” Pond

Kinkaku-ji Temple is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond called Kyo-ko-chi ( a reflecting mirror pond), 60,600 square meters and includes islands of various sizes such as Naka-jima and Iwa-jima. There are also rocks and stones of unusual shapes. These islands have different shapes depending on the angle from which they are seen. The scene viewed from the Sekka-tei Cottage at the back of the hill is particularly impressive. The reflection of the golden pavilion on the water is also striking.

Address : 1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, 603-8361

Access : From JR Kyoto station, Take the city bus No.101 or 205(230 yen, 40-minute)

Faster way : Take the Kyoto subway to Kitaoji station then take bus No.101, 102, 204, or 205 (230 yen, 10-minute) or  a taxi (10-minute, 1000-1200 yen)

Hours : 09;00 to 17:00

Admission : 400 yen