With its top two stories completely coated in pure gold leaf, Kinkaku-ji gleams in the sunlight and reflects off the pond at its edge. This Zen Buddhist temple started as a villa for a powerful statesman in the 14th century, before its conversion to a temple by the family of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. After a high-profile arson in 1950, the temple was rebuilt in its current form with ostentatious gold leaf coating to echo the extravagance of aristocratic culture in Yoshimitsu’s time. Look out for the different historical architectural styles represented by each floor of the temple. Plan to visit Kinkaku-ji and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Kyoto attractions using our Kyoto online holiday planner.
Tours to Kinkaku-ji
$147 BOOK WITH VIATOR Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu Temple from Kyoto
Duration: 10 hours
$154 BOOK WITH VIATOR Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Duration: 11 hours
They just finished replacing the gold leaf and did an end of year cleaning so the tea house better known as the Golden Pavilion looks absolutely gorgeous. I was lucky to visit there December 28th... more »
Fantastic visit to the temple, got some great photos. Very tranquil gardens and surrounds even though crowded. more »
Packed of people when we came, however it was a very nice place. The temple looked surreal, and you can buy some gifts and Souvenirs outside of the temple. Avoid going around midday tho, too many people makes it hard to take some good decent photos. Easy to get here by bus. Very fast services in Kyoto and constant so you don’t have to wait very long. We came in summer and it was really hot. Definitely will return, maybe a different season tho.
It's a victim of its own popularity. There's just way too many of us tourists to make it a pleasant experience. Pro tip, go early, or late, when the sun is low on the sky, so that pictures will have a good glimmer. Evening sun reflects of the lake for a nice shimmer as well.
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