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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji Temple)

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.


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Best Lodging Options Near Kinkaku-ji

See all 3,216 Properties near Kinkaku-ji
Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel NT$1,365
Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel

Guesthouse Sakura Komachi - Hostel

10-2, Kaidocho, Kinugasa, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Kita Ward, this hostel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kinkaku-ji and Ryōan-ji. Genkoan and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 17 minutes by foot and Tojiin Station is 23 minutes.

    Kyoyado Yaezakura NT$3,796
    Kyoyado Yaezakura

    Kyoyado Yaezakura

    31-17 Kinugasa Tenjinmoricho, Kita-Ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 15 minutes by foot and Tojiin Station is 20 minutes.

      Ace Hotel Kyoto NT$8,327
      Ace Hotel Kyoto

      Ace Hotel Kyoto

      245-2 Aneyakojidori, Higashinotoin-nishiiru Kurumayacho, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Nijō Castle are also within 15 minutes. Karasuma Oike Station is only a 2-minute walk and Karasuma Station is 10 minutes.

        Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji NT$2,978
        Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji

        Guest House Kyorakuya Kinkakuji

        52 Hirano Miyanishicho, Ohara, Kibune, Kurama, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 12 minutes by foot and Tojiin Station is 17 minutes.

          Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten
          Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten

          Kyo Koyado Kinkakuji Benten

          41-21, Murasakino Gonouecho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 18 minutes by foot and Kuramaguchi Station is 27 minutes.

            K-style
            K-style

            K-style

            46-22 Murasakino Kamikashiwanocho, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 18 minutes by foot and Kuramaguchi Station is 26 minutes.

              Hananobou Bettei
              Hananobou Bettei

              Hananobou Bettei

              41, Murasakino Minamihananobocho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) from Kinkaku-ji and within 3 mi (5 km) of Ryōan-ji and Kyoto Imperial Palace. Nijō Castle and Heian Shrine are also within 6 mi (10 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 21 minutes by foot and Kuramaguchi Station is 27 minutes.

                Koto Hananobou
                Koto Hananobou

                Koto Hananobou

                41-1, Murasakino Minamihananobocho, Kita-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Kita Ward, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kitano Tenmangū and Kinkaku-ji. Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijō Castle are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kitano-Hakubaicho Station is 20 minutes by foot and Kuramaguchi Station is 28 minutes.