Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Kyoto

English Text: Angela Thien

Photo: BigGabig /

Kinkakuji in northern Kyoto, also known in English as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion is a zen temple with upper floors covered in gold leaf. In Japanese it is officially named Rokuon-ji which translates literally as the “Deer Garden Temple”. This historic site is one of the most visited locations in Kyoto.

The temple is built on the edge of a large pond, with each of its three floor displaying a different style of architecture.The first floor is in the Shinden style, the second floorin Bukke sytle and the third in a Chinese Zen Hall style. It’s history dates back to 1397, although the temple was rebuilt in 1955 after being burned down.

When visiting, be sure to take a walk around the surrounding garden which is a prime example of Muromachi period garden design, known as the classical age of Japanese gardens. The pond, known as Kyōko-chi (translates to “mirror pond”) contains ten smaller islands.

To get to Kinkakuji, take the Karasuma subway to Kitaoji Station and then take a taxi or bus (number 101, 102, 204, or 205) to Kinkakuji. It costs 400 yen per visitor and is opened every day of the year from 9:00 – 17:00 hrs.