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Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion) 金閣寺

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto

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The "Golden Temple" is one of Kyoto's best-known attractions, and has been listed by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1994.


Kinkaku-ji was originally built in 1397 as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408), third Ashikaga shogun. It was composed of several buildings, including a replica of the imperial palace's Shishin-den Hall.

11 years after Yoshimitsu's death, the villa was converted into a Buddhist temple of the Rinzai sect, with Musō Kokushi appointed as abbot, following Yoshimitsu's will.

On 2nd July 1950, a 21 year-old monk, and student at Ōtani University, set fire to the Kinkaku-ji. The temple was burned to the ground, and the young man was arrested. He confessed that he wanted to die in the flames. The story was immortalised by writer Mishima Yukio in his novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

The temple was entirely reconstructed in its original form in 1955, extending the gold-foil covering to the lower floors as well.

Opening Hours & Admission

The temple is open everyday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and admission is ¥400.

How to get there

Kinkaku-ji is best reached by bus. The two closest stops are Kinkakuji-mae and Kinkakuji-michi, served by bus 12, 50, 59, 204 and 205.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto

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