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Holiday Travel Guide
Kinkaku-ji

Built in the 14th century for a shogun, then rebuilt twice, this temple is now a Buddhist site and its top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf.

Of all the temples you’ll see in Kyōto, this one is perhaps the most breathtaking. Also known as “Kinkaku-ji,” the Temple of the Golden Pavilion’s top two floors are coated in gold leaf, creating a dazzling mirror image in the pond on which it’s built.

Surrounded by the Hokuzan mountain, the temple gleams brightly on sunny days, and is just as beautiful when dusted by snow in winter. Though you can’t enter the pavilion, some of the statues kept on the first floor can be seen through the open windows.

The temple was originally Shogun Ashikaga’s residence, and became a Zen Buddhist temple after his death in the 15th century. The building was damaged and ruined more than once, and has been rebuilt each time, most recently in the 1950s. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 1994.

Interestingly, the three floors of the temple are built in different architectural styles. The top level uses elements of Chinese Zen architecture, and is capped with a golden phoenix. The middle level is built in the style of Samurai residences, while the bottom level reflects the style of palace architecture from the Heian period (794-1185). It’s said the Golden Pavillion houses some of the Buddha’s ashes.

The garden here was designed during Shogun Ashikaga’s residence as a place for meditation. A teahouse was added during the Edo period (1603-1868). Along the paths you’ll find shrines and statues which many visitors throw coins at for luck.

On your way out ring the bell at Fudo Hall, dedicated to the god of fire. The hall houses a carving of Fudo Myoo, one of the five wisdom kings seen as Buddha’s protectors. You can also stop here at a small garden to sit and enjoy tea and sweets.

The temple of the Golden Pavilion is in north Kyōto. It takes a little under an hour to get there direct by bus from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub. The temple is open daily and has a small admission fee.

Top Trending Hotels Near Kinkaku-ji

Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
2 out of 5
10-2, Kaidocho, Kinugasa, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is £29 per night from 9 Feb to 10 Feb
Located in Kita Ward, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kinkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji. Genkoan and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (4 reviews)
"隣の方のイビキが凄く寝れませんでした,また8~10帖位の部屋に5~6人が寝泊まりするのであれば1メーター位の仕切りが有りましたが,それだけでは厳しいのではないでしょうか。"

Reviewed on 13 Jul 2018

Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
5 out of 5
44-1 Kinugasa Kagamiishi Kita-ku, Kyoto
The price is £527 per night from 26 Jan to 27 Jan
Located in Kita Ward, this luxury hotel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Kinkaku-ji and 2.9 mi (4.6 km) from Nijō Castle. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Kyoto University are ...
4/5 Very Good! (3 reviews)
京都に広々とした空間
"京都にこんなに広々とした空間があるとは驚きです!!"

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2021

ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Miun Kinkakuji
Miun Kinkakuji
4 out of 5
Located in Kita Ward, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Funaoka Thermal Bath and Kinkaku-ji. Kitano Tenmangū and Doshisha University are also within ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (4 reviews)
"Excellent house. The location is remote, a long way from most anything."

Reviewed on 7 Apr 2019

Miun Kinkakuji
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
2 out of 5
10-2, Kaidocho, Kinugasa, Kyoto, Kyoto
The price is £29 per night from 9 Feb to 10 Feb
Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel
ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
5 out of 5
44-1 Kinugasa Kagamiishi Kita-ku, Kyoto
The price is £527 per night from 26 Jan to 27 Jan
ROKU Kyoto, LXR Hotels & Resorts
Miun Kinkakuji
Miun Kinkakuji
4 out of 5
Miun Kinkakuji
Kyoyado Yaezakura
Kyoyado Yaezakura
3 out of 5
Kyoyado Yaezakura
Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji
Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji
2.5 out of 5
The price is £78 per night from 25 Jan to 26 Jan
Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji
reserved Comfortably traveling alone two people / Kyoto Kyoto
reserved Comfortably traveling alone two people / Kyoto Kyoto
Kita-ku Hirano Miyanishicho 64-7, kyowara Tenjin, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
The price is £69 per night from 24 Jan to 25 Jan
reserved Comfortably traveling alone two people / Kyoto Kyoto
Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten
Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten
3 out of 5
Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten
Kyoto / Whole house rental / Kinkakuji is very close!/ Family / Couple Recommended
Kyoto / Whole house rental / Kinkakuji is very close!/ Family / Couple Recommended
????????37-14, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
The price is £172 per night from 26 Jan to 27 Jan
Kyoto / Whole house rental / Kinkakuji is very close!/ Family / Couple Recommended
Hananobou Kinkakuji-michi
Hananobou Kinkakuji-michi
3 out of 5
The price is £136 per night from 24 Jan to 25 Jan
Hananobou Kinkakuji-michi
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.