Golden Temple (Kinkaku-ji) – Kyoto | Travel Information

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The Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), otherwise known as the golden temple was founded in 1397 by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Kyoto, and is one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, which all 17 of those Historic Monuments are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

There are 3 floors to the Kinkaku-ji, each adopting a different design and architectural style. The Top floor is built in the tradtional Chinese Zen Style, known in Japan as ‘Zenshu-butsuden-zukrui’. The middle floor is called the ‘Tower of Sound Waves’ and built in the warrior style of houses. The design style is called Buku-zukuri, which was used to build houses for the families in the military several cenutires ago. And Lastly, the bottom floor of the Kinkaku-ji is called ‘The Chamber of Dharma Waters’, and was designed in the shiden-zukuri style, which is similar to design of the residential houses in the 11th century. The floor is an open space which uses natural, unpainted woods and white plaster, which helps connect the temple to the surrounding landscape.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are prohibited to enter the temple due to it’s cultural significance, so only the temple staff and affluent members of society have been granted access to see the inside of the temple. The Photo above is as close as the commoner can get to the temple. 

Upon arriving at the temple gates, you will be met with a large bell on the left, which anyone can ring for 200JPY. You will receive a commemorative seasonal post card afterwards. If you don’t want to do this, keep following the flow of traffic, it will take you through part of the temple gardens first, and then you will be met with the first viewing platform. There are a lot of people here taking photos of the temple, but it won’t take long to get a good spot to take your own photos. 

After you have your photos, you can continue walking around the garden. Providing you went  the right direction, you will come to the backside of the temple, where you will have a view similar to the above picture. After about 5 more minutes walking along the pathway you will come across the Tea Garden, where you can purchase some Japanese green tea (Matcha) and some sweets to eat in the Gardens for 500JPY.  After the tea garden, you will find the Fudo Hall – A small temple containing a hand carved statue by Kobo Daishi (otherwise known as kūkai, who was the founder of the Hiragana Language). You can purchase a candle for 100JPY and light it for good luck, safety, good relationships, and for successful studying. After you have lit the candle, you place it in the display case to the left of the hall and make a prayer at the temple. 

Admissions & Hours

  • 9:00am-5:00pm
  • 400JPY

Fun for Children & Families

Good for 1 - 2 People

Good for Groups

Not Wheelchair Friendly

Stairs Present

Accepts Cash

Doesn't Accept Credit Cards

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