Kinkaku-ji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji Temple, in all its majesty is something you must see with your own eyes to believe. A stunningly beautiful temple covered in gold leaf, even seeing it in person feels almost illusory. It’s as if viewing a famous painting for the first time. But it is so much more than just art, it is a piece of history that solely rests in the peaceful pond of Kyoto.20160402_142656-01[1]20160402_142641-01[1]

Admission is ¥400. 20160402_141746-01[1]

Walking towards the Golden Pavilion, you’ll see the hojo, (Ooops! this ain’t yet the temple) lol. :p This is actually the head priest’s former living quarters. 20160402_141542-01[1]20160402_141538-01[1]

Voilaaah! From afar you can see the glimmering glory of this temple reflecting its beauty in the surrounding pond. 20160402_142028-01[1]20160402_142251-01[1]20160402_143109-01[1]

The Golden Pavilion, as it’s commonly known, was originally built in 1397. It withstood wars and time only to be burnt down in 1950 by a monk suffering from mental illness. The current temple is rebuilt in 1955 based on the original structure and more extensive gold leaf coating was used in this version. In all its glistening glory, stands as a legacy of medieval Japan. It is a World Cultural Heritage Site and one of seventeen locations that comprise the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. 20160402_142448-01[1]20160402_142524-01[1]I wasn’t expecting it to be that gold! lol.
And as you walk past the temple is a small native hut with pretty old mementos. They also sell some souvenir! :p20160402_143215-01[1]

Just follow the pathway inside the temple grounds and it will lead you to their zen garden.

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There’s still a lot to see though, infact there is also a silver temple located nearby called “Ginkaku-ji”. Despite the name, the temple isn’t covered in silver but is believed to have earned its name from the moonlight reflecting on its dark exterior, which used to be covered in black lacquer. It isn’t not a waste if you can’t make it to the silver pavilion (my tip) :p

Pathway heading out flooded with tourists 🙂20160402_144253-01[1]

From Kyoto Station:

Slowest and easiest route:
Bus #101 or #205 from Kyoto station, about 40 minutes, ¥230.

Fastest route:
Karasuma line train to Kitaoji, 13 minutes, ¥260. Then take bus #101, 102, 204, or 205 to Kinkaku-ji, 10 minutes, ¥230.

As per my Itinerary, I spent half day in Arashiyama district  (Click to read post). Leave the Scenic Countryside of Kyoto around 1 or 2 to visit Kinkakuji temple. You probably will end around 4-5 depending on the crowd, traffic etc. and just nice to be back in kyoto station before sunset. If you are planning to take the shinkansen ride bound for tokyo then this I say is the most time efficient course if you still want to explore kyoto before leaving for tokyo on the the same day. ENJOY!

20160402_143134-01[1]Stylishwanderer.com

 

The Scenic Countryside of Kyoto

Located on the Western Outskirts of Kyoto lies the Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty of Arashiyama. It’s terrifically charming and feels a bit like traveling back in time a few hundred years. Undoubtedly, it has become one of the famous landmark which offers a unique window into Kyoto’s historic heart.

Start the day around 9 in the morning to explore the district of Arashiyama. For those who have JR PASS, take the JR Sagano line from Kyoto Station and alight at Saga Arashiyama Station. It is 10 mins. on foot before you reach the gate of Tenryuji temple. Entrance costs ¥500 (6sgd/203php) and it’s really worth the visit.20160402_090653-01[1]As we mosey around the temple grounds of Tenryuji, one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and considered as Kyoto’s top 5 Zen Temples, I was in awe.20160402_091643-01[1]
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The glorious garden that surrounds it is a testament to the timeless nature of Japanese landscaping. 20160402_092054-01[1]20160402_092934-01[1]20160402_092419-01[1]20160402_092824-01[1]20160402_092345-01[1]20160402_092244-01[1]20160402_093323-01[1]20160402_093424-01[1]20160402_093148-01[1]After Tenryuji, head back to where you entered the temple grounds. From there is actually the starting point of the must see Arashiyama Bamboo Forest (Click to read post).20160402_090442-01[1]20160402_090412-01[1]20160402_090259-01[1]20160402_093556-01[1] I love the wind chime quality of the bamboo rattling and the light rustle of the leaves. It’s magical! And as you keep walking towards the end of the groves, is the way to the breathtaking view of Arashiyama Mountain.20160402_095821-01[1]20160402_100437-01-01[1]20160402_103035-01-01[1]20160402_103032-01-01[1]If there is one place in Kyoto where I could say I fell in love with at first sight, then It would be the scenic view of Arashiyama Mountain. Surrounded by wonderful scenery of nature and the togetsu-kyo bridge as its most iconic landmark. It’s definitely magnificent! Here, you will be listening to relaxing sounds of the river, spotting boat rowing, and running into visitors enjoying their rickshaw rides. I spent a few hours to savor the picturesque setting. So, you definitely must dedicate at least half a day at Arashiyama district. Now, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 🙂
20160402_113612-01[1]20160402_113253-01[1]20160402_113340-01[1] 20160402_104133-01[1]20160402_104507-01[1]20160402_114441-01[1]20160402_120610-01[1]20160402_114806-01[1]20160402_115221-01[1]And To cap off the morning part is my favorite activity, EATING. lol. It’s time for lunch! There are lots of small souvenir and food shops lining both sides of the street. So for a choice of place to eat is definitely not a problem. Just don’t be afraid to try any of them. Gladly, I’ve picked the best place to dine in. The Japanese resto which I forgot the name (sorry) :p situated right across the end of Togetsukyo bridge. Gazing at my favorite view, the quaint countryside of Arashiyama Mountains with many tourists walk blissfully in different direction while eating my authentic Japanese meal is beyond any doubt unrivalled. A great combo of food and setting. 20160402_104814-01[1]20160402_112854-01[1]20160402_111035-01[1]20160402_111044-01[1]

Itadakimasu!20160402_110656-01[1]20160402_111455-01[1]

I purposely had a simple meal cause I know that on the other side of togetsukyo bridge lies a lot of  Japanese food stalls by the river.

And who do not want to try as much food as you can? lol.

TADAAAH!
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The sunny freezing cold weather paired with yummy matcha vanilla ice cream! Ahhh.. Heaven!20160402_122008-01[1]

The first part of the day ends here. So, the next part is to visit the famous Golden Pavilion Temple before taking the Shinkansen ride bound for Tokyo. I’ll be making a separate post for the Ginkakuji Temple coz I find this post a bit lengthy now. lol.

 

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I hope you find this blog post helpful, especially for you guys planning to explore the Countryside of Kyoto, Arashiyama district. It actually is one of my fave!

-Stylishwanderer.com