Sep 9, 2010

Visiting The Golden Pavilion

The Golden Pavilion (also known as Kinkaku-ji or Rokuon-ji) is one of the most famous sightseeing places in Japan. It was listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994 and is part of the overall list of 17 historic monuments of ancient Kyoto. Kinkaku-ji is the most visited site by tourists in Kyoto. However, finding it is not really an easy task, as you would probably have to change a few busses and trains.

The closest and biggest international airport to this site is Kansai International Airport. However, it takes 85 minutes by car/bus and 75 minutes by train to reach Kyoto. I suggest you take the JR train. You could check the pricing here: JR West Rail Pass. And furthermore, the airport itself provides some opportunities for shopping mall and cultural tours in Kansai Area. Check them here: Transit Tours from Kansai Airport. However, back to the temple's access. When you reach Kyoto Station, you will have to catch the Kyoto City Bus number 101 or 205. It takes 40 minutes to reach the site and costs 220 yen. Entrance fee is 400 yen and it is open every day from 9:00 to 17:00. 

However, I would like to briefly share my experience. My colleagues and I took the train from Kobe Sannomiya to Kyoto Kawaramachi (Hankyu line trains) and then rode to the site on bus 205. When we arrived it was about 11:00 on Sunday, so I expected it to be extremely overcrowded, but hopefully it wasn't. And surprisingly, big part of the visitors were actually locals. The Golden Pavilion looks gorgeous on the opposite site of a lake, beautifully located in a small park in the outskirts of Kyoto. I managed to take many pictures, but unfortunately there was this tree (you could see it) which was preventing me from taking the best shot. However, we passed very near the temple and I took some close up pictures. There was a table with photographs of the interior (yes, they do not allow visitors inside unfortunately, but if it was me - I wouldn't as well) and of the temple in winter, and both were astonishing. 

After lunch we went to another temple, near Kinkakuji, called Ryoanji. It has a "rock garden" which very much reminded me of a Zen-Buddhist temple. It is a total contrary of the Golden Pavilion, as inside there were even fewer people, it was totally quiet and peaceful atmosphere, and everything was just telling you "sit and relax". You could find more information about the site here: Ryoanji Official Website

I would recommend anyone who ever visits Japan, to go and see these two temples, as it is more than worth it. And you could think on that Zen Koan: "What is the color of wind?"


1 comment:

  1. Unfortunately I didn't visit Rouanji but I definitely recommend Sanju-Sangen-Do Temple with 1001 life size Buddha statues. It is really awesome!!!! Also Kiyomizudera at sunset or at night...or during day - it's always astonishing!!!!!! Really my favorite is Kiyomizudera :)