Kinaku-ji Temple – The Golden Pavilion

I don’t really know how it had happened but just before this trip to Japan, I realised that we had never visited the most iconic and ‘must see’ place in Kyoto: the Kinakaku-ji Temple. We missed seeing it during our three previous visits. Three visits! No explanation. I honestly don’t know how we could have missed out on seeing it before.

I have seen photos of Kinaku-ji temple before and thought that I knew what to expect but it was truly breathtaking. The Golden Pavilion surrounded by majestic old trees, blue skies and a perfect reflection of it all in the Kyoko pond.

Almost unreal.

Originally built in 1397 as a retirement villa by the Yoshimitsu (the 3rd shotgun of Ashikaga) and later turned into a Zen Buddhist temple after his death. The 2nd and 3rd floors are covered in gold leaf on Japanese lacquer. The whole site has been beautifully maintained and looks exactly the same as it did hundreds of years ago.

Kinkaku-ji-3Restored in 1955 after young monk obsessed with buildings beauty burned it down five years earlier.

Kinkaku-ji-2Reflection in Kyoko-chi (Mirror Lake).

Kinkaku-ji-4Green tea with gold flakes. Samples are given away at some of the shops by the exit.

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