JAPAN AIRLINES

  • About Japan

  • Destinations

    Hokkaido

    Sapporo / Hakodate / Asahikawa / Obihiro

    Japan’s northernmost island and an outdoor lover’s paradise

    Akita

    Kakunodate / Tazawa / Nyuto Onsen

    Relax among mountains and lakes in summer, or be dazzled by the winter snow while enjoying unique, northern cuisine.

    Iwate

    Morioka / Hiraizumi / Tono

    Stunning in all four seasons, Iwate is full of opportunities to enjoy great food and festivals, as well as magnificent scenery.

    Tohoku

    Yamagata Prefecture / Fukushima Prefecture / Aomori Prefecture

    Sceneries, history, cuisine, skiing and hiking... enjoy a trip that will rejuvenate your soul.

    Niigata

    Sado-ga-shima / Naeba / Myoko Kogen / Echigo-yuzawa-Onsen

    The land of snow, hot springs and fine sake

    Chiba

    Narita / Tokyo Disneyland

    The gateway to Japan. Packed with great spots for sightseeing where are easily accessible from the capital.

    Tokyo

    Shinjuku / Akihabara / Asakusa

    Japan’s capital and the world’s most populous metropolis

    Mie

    Kii Peninsula / Ise

    Most sacred shrine, Excellent pearls, and Samurai theme park. Touch the tradition and history.

    Kyoto

    Arashiyama / Gion / Kurama

    The traditional and cultural heart of Japan

    Osaka

    Umeda / Namba / Shin-Sekai

    One of Japan’s major cities and home of good eating

    Fukui

    Fukui / Echizen-Ono

    Sample seafood delicacies such as Echizen crab and puffer fish, as you soak yourself in the history of Fukui’s many heritage sites.

    Hyogo

    Kobe / Toyooka / Himeji / Kinosaki

    Enjoy tradition, modernity, sightseeing spots and culinary delights

    Tokushima

    Iya Valley / Tsurugi-san

    Hidden springs and fantastic scenery amid pristine natural surroundings.

    Kochi

    Shimanto City / Ashizuri-misaki

    Combining unspoiled natural beauty with a tropical climate

    Hiroshima

    Miyajima / Iwakuni / Tomo-no-ura / Onomichi

    Steeped in history and a symbol of peace the world over

    Ehime

    Uwajima / Matsuyama / Ishizuchi-san

    Fresh fruit and fish. Tour some of the castle, explore the history.

    Fukuoka

    Fukuoka / Dazaifu

    Many sights to see and delicious cuisine. Fukuoka leaves you satisfied every time.

    Saga

    Karatsu / Imari / Arita

    Experience breath-taking natural scenery and traditional crafts. A trip with delighting surprises around every corner.

    Kumamoto

    Kumamoto / Aso-san / Kurokawa-Onsen

    Surround yourself with nature and taste gourmet flavors you will find nowhere else.

    Kagoshima

    Kirisima-Yaku National Park / Satsuma Peninsula

    The home of historic heroes and a living volcanic landscape. Toast with delicious shochu and sample the unique Kagoshima cuisine.

    Okinawa

    Osumi Island / Amami Islands / Miyako Island / Yaeyama Islands

    Japan’s tropical side offering a unique culture and history

  • Theme

  • Must See

  • More fun

Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Kinkakuji was the inspiration for the similarly named Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), built by Yoshimitsu's grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, on the other side of the city a few decades later.

Kinkakuji is an impressive structure built overlooking a large pond, and is the only building left of Yoshimitsu's former retirement complex. It has burned down numerous times throughout its history including twice during the Onin War, a civil war that destroyed much of Kyoto; and once again more recently in 1950 when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955.

The interior of the first floor of the Golden Pavilion / Each floor has a different architectural style

Kinkakuji was built to echo 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 first floor is built in the Shinden style used for palace buildings during the Heian Period, and with its natural wood pillars and white plaster walls contrasts yet complements the gilded upper stories of the pavilion. Statues of the Shaka Buddha (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored in the first floor. Although it is not possible to enter the pavilion, the statues can be viewed from across the pond if you look closely, as the front windows of the first floor are usually kept open.

The second floor is built in the Bukke style used in samurai residences, and has its exterior completely covered in gold leaf. Inside is a seated Kannon Bodhisattva surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings; however, the statues are not shown to the public. Finally, the third and uppermost floor is built in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall, is gilded inside and out, and is capped with a golden phoenix.

The head priest's former living quarters (hojo) / Coin Toss

After viewing Kinkakuji from across the pond, visitors pass by the head priest's former living quarters (hojo) which are known for their painted sliding doors (fusuma), but are not open to the public. The path once again passes by Kinkakuji from behind then leads through the temple's gardens which have retained their original design from Yoshimitsu's days. The gardens hold a few other spots of interest including Anmintaku Pond that is said to never dry up, and statues that people throw coins at for luck.

Continuing through the garden takes you to the Sekkatei Teahouse, added to Kinkakuji during the Edo Period, before you exit the paid temple area. Outside the exit are souvenir shops, a small tea garden where you can have matcha tea and sweets (500 yen) and Fudo Hall, a small temple hall which houses a statue of Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings and protector of Buddhism. The statue is said to be carved by Kobo Daishi, one of the most important figures in Japanese religious history.

Tea Garden / Fudo Hall

How to get there

Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station by direct Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 230 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, 1000-1200 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 230 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji.

information source: japan-guide.com

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00

Admission: 400 yen

Address: 1, Kinkakujicho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto

Airport: Itami Airport
Kansai Airport

Notes:

Closed:
No closing days

To Page top