World Cultural Heritage featuring a shining golden pavilion and a pond-centered garden.
Kinkaku-ji is one of Kyoto's leading temples. Its formal name is Rokuon-ji. It was built at the end of the 14th century originally as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the shogun at the time. After Yoshimitsu's death, as indicated in his will, the building was converted into a temple of the Zen sect of Buddhism, which is famous for the practice of zazen, or religious meditation (a major method of Buddhist training, and method of meditation for establishing one's foundation in Zen Buddhism). The shining Kinkaku ("Golden Pavilion") is a symbol of Kyoto. This temple has been burnt down many times in the flames of war and other conflagrations, and more recently by arson, which incident has been made famous by Yukio Mishima's novel, Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion). However, it was restored in 1955, with major improvement work being done on it in 1987, so that all of the gold leaf has been replaced. Recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, Kinkaku-ji is one of the historical buildings most representative of Japan.
The garden is designed to provide a view of different scenes while walking around a large pond called Kyoko-chi in its center, and accounts for about 93,000 of the 132,000 square meter temple grounds. The Kyoko-chi Pond alone takes up 60,600 square meters and includes islands of various sizes such as Naka-jima and Iwa-jima. There are also rocks and stones of unusual shapes. These islands have different shapes depending on the angle from which they are seen. The scene viewed from the Sekka-tei Cottage at the back of the hill is particularly impressive. The reflection of the golden pavilion on the water is also striking.
Address: 1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Admission Fee: 400 yen (regular fee)
Closed: Open throughout the year
[Bus]JR Kyoto Stn./Bus/30-min. ride/Kinkakuji-michi Stop/3-min. walk