- Location: Kyoto in Japan
- Time to Visit: Throughout the year
- Admission Fee: Â¥ 400
- How to Reach: Regular buses, cars and taxis ply between the main city and the temple. The nearest bus stop is at Kinkakuji-michi. Metro services are also available.
- Nearest Railway Station: Kitaoji Station
- Nearest International Airport: Kansai International Airport
- Time required for sightseeing: 2-3 hours
The moment you enter the premises of the famous Kinkakuji Temple in Japan, with a guide map and a general information brochure in your hand following a long queue, the first thing to amaze you will be the sheer number of people inside. This site is visited by thousands of tourists, and it is not possible to properly assess the grandeur of the temple in this crowd and flashes from the latest digital cameras and personal mobile phones. If you however, enter the premises a little late in the day and manage to hang around close to the sunset and see the golden faí§ade of this magnificent temple reflect the hues of the setting sun, you will understand what obsession prompted a monk to burn down the whole structure in 1955!
History of the Kinkakuji Temple, Japan
Presently regarded as one of the most sacred sites in Japan, the Kinkakuji Temple had a much humbler origin. It was built by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu as a resting place in 1397. The 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga, Yoshimitsu renounced the throne in the year 1394 AD and built the villa to spend his the remaining days in quiet seclusion. It was only after his death, that his son Kitayamaden converted the villa into a Zen Temple according to the Rinzai School. The temple was destroyed twice in the Onin War and was later renovated. In the year 1994, the temple was listed among the World Cultural Heritage sites.
The Kinkakuji Temple in Japan is also known as the “Golden Pavilion Temple”. Local people call it as Rokuon-ji or “Deer Garden Temple”. The temple is located in the city of Kyoto and is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists.
The Architecture of Kinkakuji Temple
This three storey building is known for its elegance and beautiful architecture. The temple is a blend of three types of architecture. It is officially known as the Shariden, as Lord Buddha’s ashes are kept here. The top two stories of the temple are covered with gold leaf. The first floor is known as Ho-sui-in and is built according to the Shinden-zukuri or palace style of architecture. The second floor is known as Cho-on-do and is designed according to the samurai architecture, known as Buke-zukuri. The third floor, known as Kukkyo-cho, is made according to the Karayo style or Zen temple style of architecture.
The Kinkakuji Temple in Japan is located in the midst of a beautiful garden. There is a lovely pond which is known as Kyoko-chi or Mirror Pond in front of the temple. The reflection of the temple on the pond is a stunning sight. A small stone pagoda is located on an island on the pond known as Hakuja-no-tsuka. The pagoda consists of beautiful carvings. The roof of the temple is made with shingles. The statue of the Chinese phoenix is located on the roof.
There is a wonderful tea house known as Sekka-tei near the Kinkakuji Temple in Japan. The tea house is made according to the local Japanese style and is known for a beautiful pillar made from a nandin. On the way to the exit, a small Fudodo shrine is located which consists of a stone shrine of Fudo-myoc as its guardian.
Accommodation and Dining in Kyoto
There are a number of hotels in Kyoto, and many of them are located close to the sites of historical and cultural interests. Some of the most popular hotels in Kyoto are Hearton Hotel, Mystays Shijo Hotel, Hyatt Regency Kyoto Hotel and Kyoto Travelers inns. Apart from the above mentioned hotels, there are a large number of budget inns, hostels and less expensive hotels in the city. Most hotels provide dining facilities. Moreover, the city abounds in restaurants that provide authentic Japanese fare as well as culinary delights from all over the world. Do not miss out on the wonderful dining opportunities in Kyoto.
The following links provide some excellent views of the Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto. They are videos taken by real travelers to this popular UNESCO site. Check them out:
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=LaGaiz-lxyo: A slideshow, actually. This clip has wonderful photos of the Kinkakuji Temple as well as other attractions of the Kyoto region, including the imperial palace.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=CxTiMg_kZII: A traveler’s video of a tour to the Kinkakuji Temple. Find out how the site looks on a typical holiday, with tourists flocking in from all corners of Japan as well as other parts of the world!
http://www.yamasa.org/japan/english/destinations/kyoto/kinkakuji.html: Find out relevant information related to the Kinkakuji Temple from this site. Check it out!