Kinkakuji - Kyoto's Golden Temple

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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 will see some details about this beautiful place.

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

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

The history of Kinkakuji

The temple was the retirement home of the shogun (army commander) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Shortly after the death of this shogun in 1408, the house became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect. This temple has been burned 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 set the place on fire. The current structure was built again in 1955. Kinkakuji is one of the essential tourist spots for tourists visiting Kyoto, let's see some curiosities about it.

Kinkaku-ji - o templo dourado de kyoto

As already mentioned, 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 its great power and influence.

Just before he died, Yoshimitsu instructed his son to hand over the entire property to Zen Buddhist monks. For a long time Kinkakuji served as a place for monks meditate in tranquility, as 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 set on fire by a 22-year-old monk who soon after attempted suicide.

Kinkaku-ji - o templo dourado de kyoto

Even after many fires and other problems, and with much of the structure destroyed, a pavilion survived. This is the golden pavilion, which ended up becoming a cultural symbol. Kinkakuji is considered an architectural marvel, not only 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 used in elite mansions from the 11th century. Basically it is a large open room with white walls that open to the lake. This space was generally used for public meetings and as an entertainment area.

Kinkaku-ji - o templo dourado de kyoto

The second floor was built in the style of the Samurai. It was widely used for private meetings and to receive special guests. Buddhists used this floor as the Buddha's 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. At the top of the roof is the Chinese phoenix called the golden fenghuang.

Kinkaku-ji - o templo dourado de kyoto

Are we going to visit Kinkakuji?

Hi, although the article was written by my friend Marcelo, here is Kevin to talk about some details about my visit to the golden temple in 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 was not 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 environment for the golden temple. No matter what season you visit, the temple will always be on display!

Kinkaku-ji - o templo dourado de kyoto

If you are unable to visit the golden temple in Kyoto, know that there are two small replicas here in Brazil. One is in Itapecerica da Serra (SP) and another in Curitiba (PR) in the Japan square.

The whole place is surrounded by a beautiful garden. This is designed to provide different views of the lake when walking. If you are passing through Kyoto, Kinkakuji is open for visitation. It costs about 500 yen (around 15 reais) and is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

We recommend using 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 known the place? Tell us in the comments and share with friends.