Kinkakuji Temple

Golden Shariden (Hall of Relic)

Kinkakuji Temple, officially called Hokusan Rokuon Zenji, is a temple with grounds of more than 40,000 square meters.
The temple is generally called “Kinkakuji Temple” because of its famous “Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion),” which is a two or three-story building covered in gold leaf and enshrined with the bones of Buddha.

The Rokuonji (Kinkakuji) Garden, which is centered around the Golden Pavilion, is designated as a Special Historic Site and a Special Place of Scenic Beauty by the national government.
Rokuon-ji Temple is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cultural Heritage) under “Cultural Properties of Ancient Kyoto.

Kinkakuji, together with Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) and Hounkaku (located in Nishi Honganji Temple), are called the “Three Pavilions of Kyoto.

The World of Paradise

Kinkakuji was originally built in 1397 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, who built Kitayama-den, a mountain villa in the Kamakura period.
It is said that Ashikaga Yoshimitsu built the garden and architecture centering on the Golden Pavilion to represent the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss in this world.

After Yoshimitsu's death, the temple became a Zen temple in accordance with his last will and testament, and was named Rikaenji Temple after two characters from his Buddhist name "Rikaen-in-den".

Burning down of the National Treasure, Kinkakuji Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion)

The Shariden (Golden Pavilion) is a three-story wooden pavilion facing south along the shore of Kyokko Pond within the precincts of Rokuon-ji Temple.
The roof is shingled with a bronze phoenix at the top.

It was designated as a national treasure, but in 1950, the Shariden (Golden Pavilion), a national treasure, and the Buddhist statues enshrined in it were destroyed by arson.

Reconstructed Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion)

Based on the drawings made at the time of dismantling and repair in 1955
The structure and design of the building before it was destroyed by fire were basically retained.

Since then, the gold leaf has been peeling off and the lacquer has deteriorated due to ultraviolet rays.
Since 1986, the gold leaf has been used in a total quantity of approximately 20 kg, or approximately 200,000 sheets of "five-fold foil," five times thicker than normal (approximately 0.1 µm), and approximately 1.5 tons of domestically produced "Joboji lacquer" has been used to recoat the building and to remove the gold leaf.
The restoration work included re-coating the lacquer, reapplying gold leaf, and restoring the ceiling painting.
The phoenix statue on the roof was also renewed.

Rokuonji Garden

The Rokuon-ji Garden is designated as a Special Historic Site and a Special Place of Scenic Beauty.

Centered around Kyokko Pond, the entire area is a garden with a pond and garden path.
The garden is surrounded by islands of various sizes such as Reed Island, Crane Island, and Turtle Island, as well as strange and famous rocks such as Hatakeyamaishi, Akamatsuishi, and Hosokawaishi.
The "upside-down Golden Pavilion" is reflected on the surface of Kagamiko Pond.

It is said that Yoshimitsu used Ginga-sen (Ginga Spring), which still gushes limpid water, for tea ceremony.
The camellias, asebi, and autumn leaves are beautiful.

Fudo Hall

The oldest existing building on the temple grounds, rebuilt in 1573.
The main deity is Ishifudo Myoo, said to have been created by Kukai (Kobo Daishi),
It has been the object of popular belief since the Edo period (1603-1867), and is widely worshipped as a hidden Buddha with great spiritual power.

Tea House Yukatei

The tea house, Sekkatei, is located up the mountain path.
In the Edo period (1603-1867), Horin Seisho had Sowa Kanamori (a tea ceremony master) build it to restore the leaning Golden Pavilion and restore the pond garden.
The building was destroyed by fire in the early Meiji period (1868-1912), and the present building was reconstructed in 1874.

The main building is a sukiya-style tea house with a three-tatami mat room, a kitchen and an earthen floor, and an upper room with a gabled roof and a two-tatami mat room called "Houkirou".

Rikubune-no-matsu (Pine Tree of Land Boat)

This pine tree is located on the side of the Hojo (main hall), which was rebuilt in 1678 and has a single story gabled roof.
It is said to have been planted by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and is one of the three most famous pine trees in Kyoto.

Koigyoishi (stone for carp and fish)

This is a koi gyoishi (carp fish stone) placed in the waterfall basin in reference to the Chinese legend that when a carp climbs up the Ryumon Waterfall, it is said to turn into a dragon.

It is hard to see in the photo, but it is a 2.3 meter high waterfall with a single level drop.
The stone is tilted at a slant, and the figure of a dragon about to leap up is represented.


Kinkakuji Temple
Official Site
1 Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Telephone number
Hours of operation

Hours of worship: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


Open all year round

Admission fee

Admission fee
Adults (high school students and older) 400 yen
Elementary/junior high school students: 300 yen

Parking lot

250 spaces
Hours of operation: 8:40 a.m. to 5:10 p.m.
Passenger cars: 300 yen for the first 60 minutes, 150 yen for every 30 minutes thereafter


40 minutes by city bus from JR Kyoto Station
Get off at “Kinkakuji-michi” bus stop.

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