Located in the northern hills of Kyoto, Kinkaku-ji is one of Japan‘s most famous temple. It is one of the 17 locations listed as Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto, also considered as World Heritage Sites. The place is crowded with tourists, so I highly recommend visiting it when it opens or closes, but it is definitely a must see in Kyoto.
The visit is quick, and begins with a splendid view of the golden pavilion. The garden blends in perfectly with the surrounding nature, which gives a feeling of immensity. The view is beautiful every season, perfectly embodying the Zen style.
The path then leads to the edge of the pavilion. It’s impossible to visit it because Kikanku-ji is a sacred place taht encloses relics of Buddha. The origins of Kinkaku-ji begin in 1397 when the son of the shogun Yoshimitsu converted the place into a Zen temple. The building was rebuilt in 1955 after a monk burned it down in 1950. You can read the book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1956) by Yukio Mishima that relates this event.
The rest of the visit continues in the Zen garden.
Kinkaku-ji is open everyday from 09:00 to 17:00 (400 yens)
Access : there is no subway going to Kinkaku-ji. However, there are many city bus lines (12, 59, 205, 101, 102, 111) and stop at Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop.