Kinkaku-ji Temple
The intense shine of the Golden Pavilion reflects on calm waters reminding us why this temple is considered World Heritage.

Visit the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

Talking about Japan is discussing all the temples that are distributed throughout the island. Yet, Kyoto is one of travelers’ favorite Japanese prefectures because that’s where they find Kinkaku-ji, better known as the Golden Pavilion.

History of the Golden Pavilion

The Kinkaku-ji Temple was built initially as a retreat for the shogun in 1397. Years later it was modified and turned into a Zen temple. Since then, several fires have damaged it, so it has been rebuilt and remodeled in different periods. In recent years its impeccable presence has earned it the title of historic monument in Kyoto and in 1994 it was classified as World Heritage.

Kinkaku-ji has three levels of which the last two are completely covered in gold leaf. Although it’s not allowed to visit the interior of the temple, at the entrance you’ll receive a leaflet that will give you more information about its history. Also, don’t be saddened by this prohibition to going inside; DINKtravelers believes that what makes the Golden Pavilion more spectacular is its majestic presence and its whereabouts.

Golden Pavilion Surrounding Landscape

Seen from afar the temple rises behind a pond that reflects its golden colors impeccably. On the background, tall trees create a natural contrast with the temple’s shiny façade. Keep walking and follow the signage on the trail so that you enjoy several views of Kinkaku-ji and of the bronze phoenix that tops it, but also pay attention to the setting, because there are several highlights you don’t want to miss, like a cascade and a series of symbolic stones.

Behind the road there’s a metal pot. According to tradition, you must make a wish and then try to throw some coins into the pot. If you manage to do so, your wish will come true.

Another point of interest in the island is the stone pagoda known as Hakoja-no Tsuka, It has an engraving of a white snake that represents the protective deity of the Saionji family who owned the place before the Golden Pavilion was built.

Almost at the end of the road there’s an overlook that offers views of the natural landscape and of Kinkaku-ji. And if you want to enjoy this moment of calm for a bit longer, don’t miss the opportunity to sit on the chair nature created to furnish this beautiful site. We refer to a rock that’s shaped like a chair and that has become one of the greatest attractions on site. Numerous tourists queue in order to seat on it for barely more than a few seconds… enough to take a selfie and capture the moment.  

The Golden Pavilion is, undoubtedly, a place you must visit when you travel to Kyoto. Prepare your camera and plan your tour because not far from there, still in the city, you’ll find other temples that also possess great cultural value. 

Because reading is where the journey begins...
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  • Get a Roaming Package

    Ask your cell phone company about roaming packages in Japan. Also, once at Narita airport you can rent a mobile phone.

  • Japan's Former Capital

    Kyoto was the capital of Japan for a very long time.

  • Gold Effects

    Gold foil on lacquer covers the upper two levels of Kinkaku.

  • Styles of the Golden Pavilion

    The 1st level of the Golden Pavilion is built in the shinden style of the 11th century imperial aristocracy. The 2nd one is in buke style of the warrior aristocracy. The top level shows the Chinese zenshu-butsuden style.

  • Golden Pavilion’s Icon

    Kinkaku’s main icon is a stone statue of the Buddhist deity Fudo-myo-o. It’s thought to have been made in the 9th century by Kobo-daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism.

  • A Special Garden

    The garden surrounding the Golden Pavilion is listed as a National Special Historic Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty.