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Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

4.4
#2 of 38,271 in Things to do in Japan
With its top two stories completely coated in pure gold leaf, Kinkaku-ji gleams in the sunlight and reflects off the pond at its edge. This Zen Buddhist temple started as a villa for a powerful statesman in the 14th century, before its conversion to a temple by the family of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1397. After a high-profile arson in 1950, the temple was rebuilt in its current form with ostentatious gold leaf coating to echo the extravagance of aristocratic culture in Yoshimitsu’s time. Look out for the different historical architectural styles represented by each floor of the temple. Plan to visit Kinkaku-ji and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Kyoto attractions using our Kyoto online holiday planner .
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Kinkaku-ji Reviews
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13,634 reviews
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4.4
TripAdvisor
  • The set is spectacular, the temple, gardens... prepares the camera! We did not have much luck and appear umbrella in the pictures, but the grandeur and beauty of the Golden Pavilion is not clouded.
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  • They are all different and you may be tempted and shrines out by the end of a week. The gardens and beautiful vistas hit you at every turn. This is one of the most famous and rightly so.  more »
  • A very nice site. Easy to reach. There is a way forward and the most famous places to take pictures. Unfortunately you can not enter ...
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  • We have come here on January and it was wonderful and not so much crowded as reported by other people. We had all the time to see and admire this beautiful temple and its big park nearby. You can't enter inside, but photos of the inner rooms are available. Take also a long one-way walk through the park and get a free chance to taste some of the greatest Japan sweets. There is also a post office if you want to send post cards.
  • Really beautiful grounds and the main attraction itself is stunning. It's worth it to take your time walking around the paths and marveling at the gardening work done here. Plenty of great photo opportunities if you take the time to find them. A great place to get a cheap souvenir is the Kyoto Post Office stand. They have really nice post cards! I'm sending them to family and friends but you could just as well buy one for yourself. Great way to save space if you're traveling light. Or you could even just save the pamphlet and ticket too!
  • Get there early (when it opens) and then take your time and walk around. The main attraction is simply breath taking, but there is so much more to see and enjoy. Also, if you want to take a interesting photo, try to get a photo when the reflection pond is either still, or has very few, minimal ripples. It's fun to mess with your friends and family by showing them the photo upside down and then telling them that what they thought was the actual structure was the reflection!
  • Beautiful gold temple on a serene lake, with a tranquil surrounding. What more could you ask for? Hopefully not much, because that’s about all there is. What it lacks in quantity, it totally possesses in quality. It’s cheap (about $4) and has some scenic photo ops. It is quite peaceful if you just feel like relaxing. But you see everything here in about 15 minutes.
  • Definitely worth a visit because it is truly stunning and one-of-a-kind, but not my favorite temple in Kyoto because it seemed to be a long wait and a lot of crowd for not a whole lot of building. However, I am giving 5 stars due to the truly unique sight and experience, and if you're in Kyoto you'll regret not making the stop. Try to get there in the morning to beat the crowd, and if you have the time explore the gardens as well.

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