Located on the eastern edge of Kyoto City, Kinkaki-Ji or the Golden Pagoda is one of the best known attractions in Kyoto. The shrine consists of various temples and shops located in the complex. Around the shrines are various gardens which are maintained by the monks.
The main aspect of the temple grounds is the Golden Pagoda/Pavilion which sits on the edge of a small lake. While you can not enter the pavilion itself you can take photographs of it from across the lake and also get near the pavilion. After spending time at the pavilion you wander around various zen gardens maintained by the monks and can visit smaller shrines and out buildings within the complex.
You will need to walk up a hill to get to some of the shrines and at the top right before you walk down the hill and exit the main temple are various shops selling souvenirs and food. Like most temples in Japan you can purchase a fortune, an Ema board, good luck charms, or get a monk or nun to write calligraphy into your book.
When to go
You should try to be in line at least 30 minutes prior the opening of the temple if you do not want be crowded. The viewing area for the pavilion fills up fast and the site is always crowded as schools include it as part of the school tips. Even in bad weather the temple is very crowded so arrive early in the day.
In the fall you will also see the leaves change around the temple grounds which can provide some great photograph oppurtunities.
What is nearby?
Kyoto has a lot of attractions but some of the related temples you can see are:
- Ginkaku-Ji also known as the Silver Pagoda
- Fushimi Inari home to the large red Torii Gates
- Shimigama Shrine
- Nijo Castle
How to get there?
Kinkaku-Ji is located in eastern Kyoto. There are no nearby train or subway stations. The best way to get there is to take the Number 12 or 59 bus and get off at the Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop.
The Address is:
1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8361 Japan
Hours of Operation
9am-5pm, Last admittance is at 4:30pm.
400 yen (Cash Only)