Kinkakuji - The golden temple of Kyoto

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Do you know the golden temple or golden temple of Japan? Kyoto is home to the famous Kinkakuji Temple, one of the highlights of the ancient capital of Japan. In this article, we are going to see some details about this beautiful place.

Kinkakuji [金閣寺] It is the "nickname" given to the temple Rokuonji [鹿苑寺] located in Kyoto city in Japan. These golden pavilions were built in the year 1397. Every pavilion is covered in pure gold with a golden phoenix atop its roof, living up to its nickname.

The temple is also surrounded by a mirrored lake called Kyōkochi. Other pavilions and shrines accompany the site, in addition to the beautiful garden and foliage that add charm to the entire landscape of the site.

The history of Kinkakuji

The temple was the retirement home of the shogun (army commander) Ashikaga YoshimitsuRight after the death of this shogun, in 1408, the house became a Rinzai sect Zen temple. This temple has been burned down several times throughout history.

Of these it is included twice during the Onin War, a civil war that destroyed much of Kyoto. And in 1950 a fanatical monk burned the place down. The current structure was built again in 1955. The Kinkakuji is one of the must-see tourist attractions that visit Kyoto, let's see some curiosities about it.

Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple of kyoto

As already stated, the structure was a private property, with the original purpose of being a tranquility and rest of a shogun. It was also built to reflect his great power and influence.

Just before he died, Yoshimitsu instructed his son to turn over the entire property to Zen Buddhist monks. For a long time Kinkakuji served as a place for monks meditate in tranquility, for it was a peaceful and isolated place. 

The temple was destroyed and rebuilt several times during the Onin War (1467-1477) and in 1950 it was burned down by a 22-year-old monk who soon after attempted suicide.

Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple of kyoto

Even after many fires and other problems, and with much of the structure destroyed, one pavilion survived. This is the golden pavilion, which ended up becoming a cultural symbol. Kinkakuji is considered an architectural marvel, not just for its luxurious finish. Each of the three floors was built in a different style.

The first floor was built in the style Shinden, which was the one used in elite mansions from the 11th century. Basically it's a large open room with white walls that open onto the lake. This space was generally used for public meetings and as an entertainment area.

Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple of kyoto

The second floor was built in the style of the houses of the Samurais. It was often used for private meetings and for receiving special guests. Buddhists used this floor as the Buddha room. From this floor you can see the incredible and beautiful gardens, which were designed to be seen from that height.

And finally, the third and last floor was built in the style of buddhist architecture, where Yoshimitsu's private residence was. Here we have more rounded windows compared to other floors. High on the roof is the Chinese phoenix called golden fenghuang.

Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple of kyoto

Shall we visit Kinkakuji?

Hi, despite the article being written by my friend Marcelo, here is Kevin to talk about some details about my visit to the golden temple of Japan. It was late September on a rainy day in the afternoon. The place looked interesting and full of tourists even with the weather. The surroundings were full of shops and people walking around the neighborhood even though it wasn't the center of Kyoto.

I don't remember well, but there were some other interesting monuments and buildings on the site. One of the main highlights is the beautiful lake and garden that creates a pleasant atmosphere for the golden temple. No matter what season you visit, the temple will always be on display!

Kinkaku-ji - the golden temple of kyoto

If you are unable to visit the Golden Temple in Kyoto, know that there are two small replicas here in Brazil. One is located in the city of São Paulo, and the other in the city of Curitiba Itapecerica da Serra (SP) and another in Curitiba (PR) in the square of Japan.

The whole place is surrounded by a beautiful garden. This being designed to provide different views of the lake when walking. If you are passing through Kyoto, Kinkakuji is open for visitors. It costs around 500 yen (about 15 reais) and is open from 9 am to 5 pm.

We recommend using the GetYourGuide to find a tour guide or interesting tour packages for Kyoto and Kinkakuji region. Hope you like it.

Did you find it interesting? Have you visited or already knew the place? Tell us in the comments and share with friends.

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