Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

If you’ve been to Kyoto, chances are that you’ve been to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺). It is one of most visited places in the ancient capital of Japan.


The Golden Pavilion has three levels, each carrying a distinctive architecture style: shinden (11th century aristocracy) on the first level, buke-zukuri (warrior residence on the second, and Chinese Zen (Buddhist temple) on the third.

The top two levels of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf from Kanazawa. The roof is thatched with shingles and crowned with a glistening phoenix.


Functioning as a shariden (舎利殿) – a Buddhist hall used to store relics of Buddha – Kinkaku, along with its surrounding pond and Japanese strolling garden, is said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world.

Created years after the Golden Pavilion, Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) was modeled after Kinkaku-ji .


But unlike its predecessor, the Silver Pavilion did not contain any silver foils.


It is known for its raked sand garden where a massive sand cone stood symbolizing the sacred Mount Fuji.

Although not as popular as the Golden Pavilion, I found Ginkaku-ji at its best during the fall foliage season when visitors line up to enter the garden.

Address:  1 Kinkakujicho, Kita Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 603-8361, Japan
Phone: +81 75-461-0013

Address:  2 Ginkakujicho, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture 606-8402, Japan
Phone: +81 75-771-5725

21 thoughts on “Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji, Kyoto

  1. I never made it to Ginkaku-ji, but the autumnal colours look beautiful there. The Japanese have landscaping down to a T – their gardens always seem so tranquil and I get the impression that no element is there by chance, as such. Although I knew Kinkaku-ji would be busy, the throngs of tourists were just incredible. Visiting at the end of the day enabled us to avoid the larger crowds, but I think it also helped that a lot of people walked in (often in tours), stayed for about five minutes to look at the temple and then moved on!

    Liked by 1 person

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