Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Kinkaku-ji Temple of the Golden Pavilion

I've finally successfully arrived at Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion! If you need some tips on how to arrive here from Arashiyama, please refer to my previous blog post here. One of the reason which makes me fall head over heels with Kyoto is the richness of Japanese history which can be seen all around. 

The view of Japanese man and woman wearing Kimono is a very normal sight in Kyoto. Infact, Many Japanese from other prefecture would even take this chance to don in a Kimono during their trip in Kyoto. It is like, when they visit Kyoto, they are going back to the past era. Many old buildings in Kyoto are also carefully preserved making it similar to the old street without the feeling of a modern Japan like Tokyo. 

Kinkaku-ji Temple, the place with the Golden Pavilion is listed as the top spot to visit by foreign tourist. How many times do you actually have a chance to view a building covered in real Gold Leaves? It was almost non-existence. The building was so well preserved and maintained that it looked as if new! However, just like many Japan's historic building, this temple was not spared by fire destruction as it was burnt down trice before the current structure was being built again during year 1955.

Kinkaku-ji Temple was built as a retirement villa for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and is also one of the Historic Monuments of the Ancient Kyoto list. Each floor represents a different style of architecture:
1st floor: statues of the Shaka Buddha and Yoshimitsu, follows the Shinden style of architecture used for palatial buildings.
2nd floor: statue of a seated Kannon Bodhisattva that is surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings in the Bukke style seen in samurai houses.
3rd floor: a golden phoenix at the top and is built like a Chinese Zen Hall. 

// Hojo House //

// Hojo House //

// Hojo House //

Hojo House is the Head Priest's living quarter which is few steps away from the Golden Pavilion. It is well known for the paintings on it's sliding doors (fusuma). Along the way, there is also a group of statues where people can toss their coins for good luck.

// Charms Stall of Kinkaku-ji Temple //

// Toss Coin at Statue for luck //

It was a chilly day with the sun going down fast and I felt like I could use some warm. That was when I saw the most attention grabbing stall! A stall selling sake! Hehe.. I got some small bottles of white wine sake and also a small bottle of sake with gold leaves in them as souvenir.

I wonder what happens to the gold leaves when I consume them...

// Fudo Hall //

Fudo Hall houses Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings which also protects buddhism. The statue is special in a way that it was carved by Kobo Daishi, one of the most important figures in Japanese religious history.

From Kyoto Station to Kinkaku-ji Temple.

If you are going to the temple directly from the Kyoto Station;
(1) take the Kyoto City Bus no.101 or no.205
(2) take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and then take the  Kyoto City Bus no.101, no.102, no.204 or no.205 for a faster route.


It was already dark when the bus reach Gion District from Kinkaku-ji. Gion was actually one one the place I look most forward to but due to short of time, I could not enjoy it in the daylight. Still, I was glad to be able to experience a different environment of Gion during the night time.

Well, this is Kamo River in the dark. It's riverbank is the most popular place in Kyoto as walking spot and also the place to witness the Sakura bloom which is planted all long the riverbank. The blooming season is most packed when the place turns into a romantic spot with soft colour Sakura in full bloom.

Another romantic spot during the Sakura season is by the Shirakawa River. There are many traditional establishments along the river such as ochaya (geisha house) and restaurants. It would be a great experience to dine there one day.

This area in Kyoto known as the Gion district is still very much well-known for the Geisha culture. Besides that, this is the place where you can experience top notch green tea ceremony at it's most traditional. Strolls along the alleys just makes me feel like I'm travelling back through time. It is my loss to have too little time to visit Kyoto during this trip. I'll make sure to list Kyoto as one of my top place to visit list!

Oh, there's just so many old districts here that makes my heart flutter! Definitely a place worth visiting for those who emjoy the old streets and tradition of Japan.

Here's a short list of website where you can check on more information about Kinkaku-ji and also Gion;
Discover Kyoto

About Kinkaku-ji Temple
Japan Guide - Kinkaku-ji Temple
Map of Kinkakuji

About Geisha & Maiko

Japan Guide - Gion

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