We continue our Kyoto temple shrine hopping trip on the next day and Kinkakuji is the first stop. The spiritual Buddhism and Shintoism have thousands of temples and shrines between them – incredible stats by any standards. The sheer numbers make it impossible to visit all of them. Hence, I can only cherry-pick a few to visit and Kinkakuji (金閣寺) aka the Golden Pavilion is high up on my list.
Picture perfect Kinkakuji
We didn’t have to walk far to catch our first glimpse of the pavilion. The three-tiered temple with its glimmering gold is a sight to behold…amazing! The Golden Pavilion sits within Kyoko-chi (鏡湖) surrounded by lush greenery. The combination gives a very zen feel and reflection of the pavilion in the calm water is really picturesque. Like!!
It is hard to imagine that the beautiful pavilion is merely a replica covered with gold leaf. The original Kinkakuji survived the warring period even when buildings in the compound were destroyed. Only to be burnt down by a young monk for an unknown reason.
WTH!! How could anyone bear to torch something this beautiful?!
Perhaps that’s the reason why Rokuon Ji Temple, the official name for Kinkakuji, does not allow access to the pavilion and can only be admired from afar. Still, this UNESCO World Heritage site is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful landscapes in Kyoto.
Following the footpath around the garden leads us to a tiny waterfall and a mini shrine. Towards the exit stands the small Fudo-do shrine.
Ishida Café opposite Kinkakuji
Thereafter, we have our breakfast at Ishida Café (石田珈琲) along the street opposite Kinkakuji. The toast and eggs are really nice!! Despite the language barrier, we feel right at home with the super friendly owners.
They even gave us a postcard and bookmark as souvenirs. Very nice folks!!