Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji [The Golden Pavilion]

The Golden Pavilion - Rokuon-ji Temple

We left for Kinkaku-ji [金閣寺] by bus on a rainy Monday morning. Even in the rain the Golden Pavilion is a very impressive site. Kinkaku-ji is the informal name for the main building for Rokuon-ji [鹿苑寺 (Deer Garden Temple)]. In the 1220s it was the villa of Kintsune Saionji, a central figure in the imperial court.

The Golden Pavilion - Rokuon-ji Temple

The rain prevented Kyōko-chi (Mirror Pond) from reflecting much

The Golden Pavilion - Rokuon-ji Temple

Three years after abdicating the throne in 1394, Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga began to build his own villa which he called Kitayamadono. The architecture and gardens of this complex focused around the Golden Pavilion. After Yoshimitsu’s death, the site was made into a Zen temple in accordance with his will.

The Golden Pavilion - Rokuon-ji Temple

Kinkaku-ji was reconstructed in its original form in 1955 after a monk set fire to the temple in 1950. The monk was arrested and confessed that he wanted to die in the flames. Mishima Yukio’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is loosely based on this event. The temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

Rokuon-ji Temple - Fodo-do

Fudo-do, a hall dedicated to the God of Fire

Fortunes are available in English, Korean, and Chinese:

Rokuon-ji Temple

It wouldn’t be a World Cultural Heritage site without Coca-Cola and Häagen-Dazs vending machines:

Rokuon-ji Temple

More Japan Travels

All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.

3 thoughts on “Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji [The Golden Pavilion]

  1. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. 🙂

    I lived in Taiwan for a year so I thought I’d add your blog to my blogroll. I also love the pictures you took in Kyoto. I spent a week there last year…far too short to explore such an amazing city. Can’t wait to go back to Japan again. 🙂

  2. Sandy – I don’t know if it’s possible to take a bad picture of the temple, it’s absolutely stunning.

    Kelly – thanks, I still have a few more posts to add from the trip, hopefully I’ll have them all up by the end of next week. I really want to go back, maybe when the Cherry Blossoms bloom or when the fall colors are their most vivid.

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