Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion

golden pavilion top Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion

Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion is a beautiful gold-colored temple built on the edge of a reflective lake and surrounded by an exquisite Japanese Garden. It is among Japan’s most well-known temples, and is one of the most popular Kyoto tourist attractions.

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History of Kinkakuji

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The temple was originally constructed in 1397 as the retirement residence of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After Yoshimitsu’s death, his son converted the structure into a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect.

The Pavilion has burned down several times in its lengthy history. The most recent structure was built in 1955.


Kinkakuji is also well-known as the backdrop for famous author Yukio Mishima’s classic book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

Features of the Golden Pavilion

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Kinkakuji is a three-story building built overlooking a reflecting pond (called Mirror Pond) and surrounded by a beautiful Japanese garden. The temple derives its name from its gold-leaf coating on the top two floors.



When to visit Kinkakuji

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Kinkakuji is a splendid attraction to visit any time of the year, and Japan’s four distinctive seasons provide the Pavilion with ever-changing seasonal backdrops that make this Japan attraction an ideal photo-taking spot.

However, our favorite time to visit Kinkakuji is around early- to mid-November, when the golden building is surrounded by brilliant autumn colors, all of which are reflected off of Mirror Pond in a scene of other-worldly beauty.


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How to Get to Kinkakuji

Take bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto Station to the Kinkakuji-michi stop. Cross the street and walk a couple hundred meters to the temple entrance.
Golden Pavilion Hours of Operation and Admission
Open each day from 9:00 to 17:00
Entrance fee is 400 yen for adults; 300 yen for children
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