Remember those classic anime scenes wherein the main character oversleeps, hurriedly runs to school, sees the gate starting to close, and revving up to make it in?
That happened to me when I went to Kinkakuji. There was a monk sounding a bell, and another urging us to hurry up. The scene looked like the last stop in an Amazing Race episode. I kid you not, the gates were closed after I got about 10 big steps in.
Probably one of the flashiest temples in Japan along with Kiyomizudera, Kinkakuji is one of the 17 Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which are World Heritage Sites. Access to the main temple itself is restricted, though there are better views of the temple from across the pond. Didn’t get close enough to see the interior, although I noticed the differences in details of how each story is constructed. That, and with a bit of reading, I learned that
- The exterior of Kinkakuji’s second and third storeys are covered in gold leaf.
- The first storey is built in the Shinden style during the Heian period, second in Bukke style used in samurai’s residences, and the top floor in Chinese Zen hall style. Pretty eclectic, and it works.
- The rooftop ornament is in the shape of a phoenix (and I thought it was supposed to be a rooster!!! >_< )
Well, here’s a look at the temple and its garden, plus a side story or two in the pics:
Kinkakuji is open daily from 9 am – 5 pm. There’s an entrance fee of 400 yen.
How to get to Kinkakuji:
- Via bus from Kyoto Station (40 mins). Take Kyoto City Bus No. 101 or 205 and alight at Kinkakuji-michi stop. The temple is just a few minutes walk away.
- Take the Karasuma Subway line and alight at Kitaoji Station (15 mins). Ride the city bus from there (101, 102, 204 or 205), and alight at Kinkakuji-michi stop. The bus ride will take about 10 mins.