Kinkaku-Ji is the Zen Buddist temple located in Kinkaku-Ji, Kitaku, Northern Kyoto, Japan. The official name of this temple Rokuon-ji. The temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Kinkaku-Ji is the most famous iconic sight in Japan attracting many visitors anually. This amazing monument is built with a larger pond.
During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), the site of Kinkaku-ji was originaqlly a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a aristocrat Saionji Kintsune, known as Kitayamadai. In 1397 this villa was purchased from the Saionji fanily by Shogun Third Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and built his own villa with Golden pavilion and surrounded garden, which called Kitagamadono. After the death of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu this villa is converted to a Zen Buddhist temple by his son (Muso Soseki) according to Yoshimitsu wish. In 1498, the Eight Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (Grand son of the Yoshimitsu) built Ginkaku-ji the temple of the Silver Pavilion that fpllowed design of the Golden Pavilion. Both temples represent the architecture styles in Muromachi period.
During the Onin war (1467-1477) all of the buildings in the complex away from the pavilion were burned down. In 1950 the Pavilion was burned down by a Buddhist monk(Hayashi Yoken). During the fire the statue of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was lost due to the flame. The present pavilion building was rebuilt in 1950. The constructed temple is closer to the original pavilion.
The each floor of the temple represents different style of architectures. Top two floors covered with a gold leaf, are perfectly reflected in the surrounding pond. This is the most famous photogenic place in the temple. The ground floor called the Chamber of Dharma Water is built in Heain period. It was built according to the Shinden Architecture style using white plaster walls, larger windows above the natural wood pillars. It was design with open space and adjacent verandas. Inside the floor there is a statue of Lord Buddha and Yoshimitsu. You can see these statues across the pond if you look closely when the front windows of the ground floor opened.
The First floor called the Tower of Ground Water is built using Bukke style and that was the house of Samurai, Finally the second floor also known as Zheshu-butsuden-Zukuri, was built using Chinese Zen hall Style.The roof of the temple is pyramid shape. Top of the roof there is a Bronze hoo ornament.
Kinkaku-ji is amazing in every season. In spring the garden is decorated with pink cherry blossoms, in the autumn with Fiery leaves, and with white snow in the winter.
The best time to visit the site is early morning. There are a couple of places within the garden closer to the pond where there are fortune bowls set up. You can try and toss a coin into the bowl to get good luck. Also when you walk along the path, you will come to another temple area, where you can pray and buy tablets to write down your wishes. You can also buy souvenirs from the gift shop there. Make sure to have a cup of match tea and Japanese traditional sweets and soft severe ice-cream
Address: Kinkakujicho, Kita ward, Kyoto
How to get in to Kinkaku-ji
By Train: Take the Karasuma Line from JR Kyoto Station to Kita-Oji Station (14 min). Walk 2 minutes from Kita-Oji Station to Kitaoji Bus Terminal, where a number of Kyoto City Buses (#101, 102, 204, or 205) will take you to Kinkakuji-Michi bus stop 10-min).
By Bus: From JR Kyoto Station, take either Kyoto City Bus 101 or 205 to get to the Kinkaku-Ji Temple (40 min)
Entrance Fees: Adults-400 yen
Hours: 9.00am to 5.00pm every day