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Kyoto: Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion)

Located in Kita-ku, Kyoto Prefecture in Japan, Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺) is a Zen Buddhist temple in the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect. It is famously known to English speaking countries as the Golden Pavilion. 

Formerly named, Rokuon-ji Temple (鹿苑寺), Kinkaku-ji Temple is actually a sharply or a Buddhist hall containing relics from Buddha. The temple was built in 1397 and served as a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of Kitayama-den. The villa also functioned as an official guesthouse. Emperor Gokomatsu and other members of the nobility once resided in the villa.
The history of the temple
Entrance to the Golden Pavillion, the Salmon gate
The pavilion after it was burnt. (photo from
After the death of Yoshimitsu, his will indicated that the villa is converted into a temple. It was named Rokuon-ji which was derived from Rokuon-in-den (Yoshimitsu's name for the next world.)
The belfry of the temple

Close up of the belfry
Check out the rates
Here's my ticket
The Golden Pavilion is reflected beautifully in the waters of Kyoko-chi pond
 the Genka-sen well which was used by Yoshimitsu to wash his hands

Another view of the temple
The Phoenix at the rooftop of the temple
The side of the Golden Pavilion
Steps going around the temple
The Hakuja-zuka in the middle of the Anmin-taku pond
Got to sit at the Kijin-to or the chair-shaped stone
The map of the temple vicinity
The Sekka-tea tea hut
The kuri or the living quarters of the priests
The Hojo 
The Ryumon-baku waterfalls with the Rigyo-seki stone (Carp Stone) in the middle.
The Jizo Buddhist images with all those coins!
The Fudo-do

The temple was registered as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994.
The exit stone stairs
Kinkaku-ji Temple was the last temple that we visited during our Kyoto trip which was on the 9th day of our stay in Japan. What I loved about the temple is the beauty of its garden. Combined with the reflection of the golden facade of the temple in the pond, the garden looked like paradise. When I first saw it, I was so amazed that I took almost a hundred pictures of it.
Got a photo of Kinkaku and Kyoko-chi pond
Aside from the pond and the temple's combined beauty, the other parts of the vicinity is equally beautiful. It's no wonder Kinkaku-ji Temple became so famous.

Getting there:

From Kansai International Airport, ride the JR West Haruka Limited Express Train. The ride will take about 80 minutes. 

Overall rating


  1. This temple is wonderful. Omamori of kinkaku-ji can be found on

    1. Thank you for the link. I just visited it and I recommend it as a great souvenir. I should have bought one. Thanks again Adamo!

  2. This scenery looks gorgeous! This could be right out this chinese martial arts movie "Hero" (if I recall it right ;) )... I always pictured Kyoto to be a rather big city without any possibility to get to nearby nature without having to drive far. But having a look on the Google map you posted I can imagine combining a nice hike with visiting this and maybe some other temples in this area, as they seem to be right at the city limits.

    1. Surprising as it may look, Kyoto is actually a highly urbanized city. There are areas however that would still remind you of the historical Kyoto. The area where Kinkaku-ji is actually one of those "old Kyoto" areas.

  3. Good photo story and an interesting place. Just like I have imagined the cultural sites in Kyoto.

  4. visiting Japan is my dream!!!! Just waitng to save more money... :-)

    1. Same here, I'm planning to revisit it again but I think I need to save more money. =)

  5. Hi Neil! Amazing post about Kinkaku ji! I am due with mine but will push the Kyoto blog soonest! Agree with you, Japan is so beautiful, a place worth exploring!

    1. I'm excited to see your Kyoto blog. You are lucky you live in Japan. =) Given the chance I'd visit that country every year. =)

  6. The Kinkaku Ji temple looks so beautiful and surreal. One of the things that I am enamoured of in Japan are its temples. They have such a beautiful and mystical aura about them. The fact that the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage is an added bonus.

    1. That is true Sandy. =) It is really a magnificent temple.

  7. Japan is so high on my lost I've always wanted to go and I'd love to visit this temple, I've read quite a few posts on Kyoto recently and definetly adding this temple on my must do list

    1. This temple just one of the many in Kyoto that you should see. =)

  8. I can’t wait to see the beauty and know more of Japan history next year


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