Kinkaku-ji: Japan's Iconic Golden Temple

Kinkaku-ji: Japan's Iconic Golden Temple

You have probably seen this picture before. Everyone who ever travels to Japan will have visited the golden pavilion in Kyoto.

Called Kinkaku-ji in Japanese, this outstanding structure is actually a Zen Buddhist temple and stands amidst a more than breath-taking garden.

Despite its pristine beauty, the Kinkaku-ji has quite a long history. The first records date back to 1397. Originally it was a villa used by the Japanese Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, but it got transformed into a Zen shrine after the Shogun’s death.

These days the iconic golden roofs are part of the whole UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kyoto.

But do not be fooled: The golden temple you currently see has only been erected in 1955.  Not the first reconstruction. In fact the wooden temple burned down a couple of times!

Unlike a lot of other temples throughout Japan you cannot get inside. You can, however, walk around the extensive gardens surrounding Kinkaku-ji. At wonderful teahouse you will have the opportunity to drink traditional Japanese matcha tea and sweets.

There are no closing days to observe – the golden Temple will be open throughout the year from 9am to 5pm. It is easily accessible by public transport (bus). The entrance fee is 400 Yen per adult.