One of the many reasons why I like to travel to Japan of late is to explore and check out the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This leads to my recent exploration, in fact my 2nd visit to Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺) also known as The Golden Pavilion during my recent visit to Kyoto just last week.
Our journey from Osaka to Kyoto started in the morning when we head to Nishiki Market (錦市場) for our morning exploration before we head over to Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺). We took the subway from Karasuma Station via Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (estimated about 15 minutes, cost of only 260 yen per adult). From Kitaoji Station, we took the bus (estimated only about 10 minutes from the station, cost of only 230 yen on bus number 101, 102, 204 or 205) where we got off at Kinkaku-ji stop. The bus ride were very interesting as in the bus, before every stop, there will be a brief instruction on how to get to the point of interest from the bus stop and a brief introduction of the place.
Details of Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺)
- Address : 1 Kinkakuji-cho Kita-ku, Kyoto City
- Opening Hours : 0900 to 1700 hrs (last entry – 1630 hrs)
- Entrance Fees : Adults (including High School Students) @ 400 yen / Children (including Junior High, Elementary School Student) @ 300 yen
Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺) is actually a part of the temple that is formally named as Rokuon-ji Temple (鹿苑寺, Deer Garden Temple). A part of the Zen Buddhist Temple of Kyoto, it was designated as a National Special Historic Site and A National Special Landscape. It is also listed as one of the 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site.
Upon entering into the ground of Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺), one will be greeted by a beautiful yet traditional building on your right which comprises of the priests living quarters.
After purchasing the entrance ticket, one will enter into the garden area where the impressive Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) structure stood overlooking a large and beautiful pond. This is the only building left of Yoshimitsu’s former retirement complex as it has been burned down numerous times throughout the history which also includes the Onin War period which almost destroyed most of Kyoto. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955. On a clear beautiful day, the reflection of Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), the Golden Pavilion is indeed a stunning view.
The different view of Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺), the Golden Pavilion
Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), the Golden Pavilion is covered with gold foil on lacquer on both the upper two levels with a shining phoenix that stands on top of the shingled roof. The first level is built in the shinden style of the 11th-century imperial aristocracy where the statues of Shaka Buddha (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored.
Shining Phoenix on top of the roof
Across the pond, one will pass the Hojo, the former living quarters of the head priest that are popularly known for Fusuma, painted sliding door. This place however unfortunately is not open to the public.
The garden hold many beautiful and interest spots which also includes Anmintaku Pond which was said to never dry up and The Ryuman Taki, also known as Carp Rock.
Continuing through the garden, one will reach Sekkatei Teahouse, a detached teahouse that was built during the Edo period. Known as Place of Evening Beauty, the view of Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) is especially beautiful during the evening.
Exiting the paid temple area, one will find the souvenir shops and a small tea garden where Macha tea (green tea) and sweets are served at only 500 yen per serving.
Next to it, one will see Fudo-do, a temple where the stone status of Buddhist deity Fudo-myo-o, made in the 9th century by Kobo-daishi, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. It is said that although it is normally hidden from the public, the image has long revered for its miraculous powers. Every early February and on August 16 (during Setsubun), there is Open-Door Rituals are held.
This ends the tour around Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺) / Rokuon-ji Temple (鹿苑寺)