No matter what “Top things to do in Kyoto” list you read, I can guarantee that Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion will be ranked wither first or second. This is most definitely earned as well, Kinkaku-ji is one of my favourite places to visit in Kyoto, as long as you’re prepared for the crowds…
Kinkaku-ji is located in Northern Kyoto and the current structure was built in 1955. As with most historic places of interest in Japan, the original structure was destroyed in a fire in 1950 (amongst other times as well!).
My favourite feature of this structure is it’s placement – being a the edge of a lake, means that if you have a clear day with no breeze, the reflection is just spectacular!
From personal experience, the Golden Pavilion is a good beginning on the day place to visit. I’ve made the mistake of going around lunch time and it hasn’t been pretty – crowds 3 people deep and security guards moving you along quite quickly without much time to just stop and enjoy the temple, which is a real pity when it happens!
Getting to Kinkaku-ji is very easy if you’re staying close to Kyoto Station (which I always try to do for ease of getting around Kyoto). All you have to get on Bus 101 or 205 from the station and get off at the Kinkaku-ji stop. It’s super easy and the signs are in English as well. It will take about 40 mins to get there on the bus, but it’s direct, instead of getting the train, then getting a bus or taxi after!
Admission is 400 Yen (a great way to get rid of some of your smaller change!!) and you get a real unique entry pass….try find someone who will translate it for you!
Opening times are 9am – 5pm, so aim to get there at one of these book end times for the lower crowds
Have you visited the Golden Pavilion before? What did you think of it?