Every major tourist area has its main stop, that must see attraction all visitors must go to or their time in that particular area, town, city or country would be incomplete. Good examples are the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York. For Kyoto that place is Kinkaku-ji or the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” a retirement villa turned Zen temple originally built in the early 1400s for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who was the grandfather of Ashikaga Yoshimasa whose own retirement home turned Zen temple called the Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) was built on the other side of Kyoto a few decades later.
Kinkakuji is a sight to behold as the Gold coloured 3 story temple (only top 2 floors are golden) sits next to large pond and surrounded by well-kept gardens. Tourists aren’t allowed inside but each floor of the temple is built in a different style with a golden phoenix on top that looks similar to the one I saw atop Ginkakuji.
The temple of the golden pavilion is the highlight of a 35-45 minute walk through the grounds of Kinkakuji that features other buildings such as the head priest’s former living quarters, sculptures, tea garden and various gift shops. I spent a long time in awe looking at the temple snapping dozens of photos from as many angles as I could. Kinkaku-ji is easily my single most photographed attraction during my trip to Japan and I could find myself going back there again and again with friends and during the various seasons of the year to observe it’s transformation and get lost its beauty again and again.
I’d like to apologize for not getting any proper video of the temple, I was so busy snapping photos I forgot I have a camera for video -_-. Lots of photos for your viewing pleasure and I would also like to know if anyone reading this has ever visited Kinkakuji? Plan to or want to? I look forward to your comments below.
Kirk is a proud Jamaican who started Jamaipanese.com in February 2006 and now lives in rural Japan. He enjoys sharing his experiences learning about Japan, personal milestones in life as well as interests such as photography, gaming and travelling.