Kinkaku-ji is offically named Rokuon-ji. One of the top 3 tourist spots in Kyoto, it’s popular among foreigners and Japanese alike. I’ll tell you about points to see while visiting Kinkaku-ji. As Kyoto is full of tourist spots, you may want to visit as many as possible. Let’s enjoy your visit efficiently while focusing on important points to see.
1. Before entering the temple
The first highlight is the exterior of the temple. Its surrounding earthen wall has 5 lines drawn, which indicate the rank of the temple. The 5 lines mean this is a high temple. Let’s look the stately tiles and mud wall and heighten your expectations.
2. Savoring the grounds
The 2nd highlight is the bell tower and large pine trees on the grounds. It costs 200 yen to ring the bell, so let’s feel nostalgic after ringing once. There is a large pine tree called “Pine of the land boat.” This boat-shaped tree was said to be a transplanted from Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s bonsai. You may be surprised that a bonsai has turned into such a large tree. Further ahead, there are 2 ponds related to Yoshimitsu. Gingasen was used for tea water while Gangasui was used for washing hands. You can enjoy both, which are surrounded by rocks, moss, and trees.
3. Multistoried building!
The third highlight is the beautiful building covered in gold leaf. The first floor, called The Chamber of Dharma Waters, is rendered in shinden-zukuri style, the second floor is choondo in the samurai residence style, and third floor is a Zen Buddhist sanctum structure. Especially, the second and third floors, covered in gold leaf, is a must-see. Its reflection on the pond is absolutely beautiful. On the top the Golden Phoenix shines against the changing colors of leaves and the snowy scene. With a combination with Kitayama, it creates a spectacular landscape with different expressions at each season, which is overwhelmingly popular.
4. Being thoughtful in the tea room
Going forward in the building, you reach the fourth highlight, Sekkatei. This tearoom, which looks like a hut, was designed by Edo-period tea master Kanamori Shigechika, with its sukiya style favored by the tea master himself. Its thatched rood and alcove post are also famous. Sekkaitei comes from the image of kinkaku-ji in sunset. As you consider the closing time and the tourist route, please try to find the temple shinning in sunset, at least once.
5. Oldest building is also worth visiting
The fifth highlight is Fudoto, located southeast Sekkeitei. During the Tensei period it was rebuilt by Ukita Hideie, one of the council of Five Elders appointed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the oldest building on the grounds. The object of adoration Fudo-Myoo is said to be created by Kobodaishi Kukai. In addition, the Acala statue of important cultural property created during the Kamakura period is housed here. It’s open to the public only on Setsubun and during ceremonial bonfire, so be sure to visit on those days to check it out!
In addition to the multi-storied building covered in gold leaf, Kinkaku-ji has many charms such as nature and ponds on the ground and the buildings. Be sure to check them all.
Top image：Find Travel
This post is also available in: Japanese