Kinkaku-ji Temple (Golden Pavilion,location,history)

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Golden Pavilion

The information about Kinkaku-ji Temple is presented here. Kinkaku-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) was a representative building of the Kitayama culture of the early Muromachi period (1336-1573), a fusion of traditional court noble culture and the emerging samurai culture. However, Golden Pavilion was destroyed by arson in 1950 and rebuilt in 1955.

【Kinkaku-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 1 Kinkakuji-cho Kita-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Kinkakuji-mae bus stop (about 2 minutes on foot), Kinkakuji-michi bus stop (about 5 minutes on foot), Randen Kitanohakubaicho Station (about 20 minutes on foot)

Kinkaku-ji Temple is located in the north-northwest from Kyoto Station and is about 6.5 kilometers away in a straight line. The closest station to Kinkaku-ji Temple is Kitano Hakubai-cho Station on the Randen Kitano Line, but it is some distance away. Also, Randen trains do not serve Kyoto Station. It may be difficult to reach Kinkaku-ji Temple by train except for users of the Randen Kitano Line.
If you go to Kinkaku-ji Temple from Kyoto Station, take a city bus and get off at Kinkakuji-mae bus stop or Kinkakuji-michi.

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 400 yen, Junior High and Elementary School Students 300 yen

【Kinkaku-ji Temple History】

Kinkaku-ji Temple (金閣寺), whose official name is Hokuzan Rokuon-ji Temple (北山鹿苑寺), is a sub-temple of Shokoku-ji Temple (相国寺). On the site where Kinkaku-ji Temple is built, the noble lord Saionji Kintsune built Hokusan-tei (Kitayama-tei) in 1224, and the Saionji clan’s temple Saion-ji Temple was located there. After that, the fall of the Kamakura Shogunate and the assassination attempt of the 96th Emperor Godaigo, the Saionji clan’s territory was confiscated and Hokusan-tei (Kitayama-tei) was devastated. In 1397, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (足利義満), the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, received Hokusan-tei (Kitayama-tei) in exchange for the territory of Kawachi (Osaka), and began a major renovation of the devastated Hokusan-tei (Kitayama-tei) , and built Kitayama-dono, the predecessor of Kinkaku-ji Temple. Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) was built in 1398 and houses the statue of Shaka Sanzon (Buddha) on the 1st floor and the ashes of the Buddha on the 3rd floor. Incidentally, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu handed over the shogunate to his son, Ashikaga Yoshimochi, in 1394, but continued to conduct political affairs at Kitayama-dono. It is said that construction of Kitayama-daito (seven-story pagoda) began in 1404, but it was burned down unfinished by lightning strike in 1416. In 1408, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu invited the 100th Emperor Gokomatsu to a grand banquet, but Ashikaga Yoshimitsu died the same year. In 1409, Ashikaga Yoshimochi, the 4th shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, destroyed part of Kitayama-dono, and after that it became the palace of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s wife, Hino Yasuko. It is said that when Hino Yasuko died in 1419, the temple buildings except for Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) were dismantled and moved to Nanzen-ji Temple, Kennin-ji Temple and other temples. In 1420, according to the will of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, Kitayama-dono was transformed into Hokuzan Rokuon-ji Temple, a Zen temple, with Ashikaga Yoshimitsu as its founder and Muso Soseki (Musokokushi) as its founder. The name of Rokuon-ji Temple is derived from the Buddhist name of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, “Rokuonin-dono”. During Onin War (Onin-no-Ran) that broke out in 1467, most of the Kinkaku-ji temple buildings were destroyed by fire, but Kinkaku, Fudo-do, and Goma-do escaped destruction. However, it is said that Kinkaku-ji Temple was destroyed afterwards. It is said Fudo-do was rebuilt by Ukita Hideie during the Tensho period (1573-1591). In the Edo period (1603-1868), Saisho Shotai (西笑承兌) restored Kinkaku-ji temple , and a major repair of Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) was carried out in 1649. In the early morning of July 2, 1950, Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and the Buddhist statue that was housed were burned down by arson. Reconstruction of Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) began in 1952, and the reconstruction was completed in 1955.
*reference・・・Kinkaku-ji Temple website

【Kinkaku-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku, 金閣) was built in 1398 by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, but was destroyed by arson in 1950 and rebuilt in 1955. Golden Pavilion is a three-story wooden pavilion, the 1st floor is called to be “Hosui-in”, the 2nd floor is called “Choon-do”, and the 3rd floor is called “Kukkyo-cho”. Golden Pavilion houses the statues of Hokan Shaka Nyorai (Buddha) and Ashikaga Yoshimitsu on the 1st floor, and the statues of Iwaya Kannon and Shitenno on the 2nd floor.
★Fudo-do (Fudo Hall, 不動堂) was rebuilt by Ukita Hideie during the Tensho period (1573-1592). Fudo-do houses the stone statue of Ishi Fudo Myoo, said to have been created by Kobo-daishi Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect, and the statue of Fudo Myoo created in the Kamakura period (1185-1333).
★Garden (庭園, Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic Site) is said to have been created by Saionji Kinzune when he built Hokusan-tei (Kitayama-tei), and Ashikaga Yoshimitsu made major renovations, especially to Kyokochi Pond. In the late Edo period (1603-1867), Garden was restored to its original form as a pond fountain, but it is said that it was later renovated to its presentt appearance. Garden is a walking garden centered on Kyokochi Pond with a borrowed view of Mt. Kinugasa-yama.
Kinkaku-ji Temple Highlights

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Fudo-do Kaihihoyo (Fudo Hall Opening Ceremony, 不動堂開扉法要) is held on every year Setsubun Day (day before the first day of spring) and August 16th, the day of Gozan Okuribi. In Fudo-do Kaihihoyo, the main statue, Ishi Fudo Myoo (Secret Buddha), housed in Fudo-do, is opened and the Daihannya Sutra is prayed.
★Fudo-do Ogomakuboshu (不動堂大護摩供奉修) held on every year November 28th. In Fudo-do Ohgomakuboshu, after chanting sutras in front of Fudo-do, gomagi (wooden sticks), which containing the wishes of believers and others, are burned on the gomadan to pray for the fulfillment of their wishes.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see Japanese irises (杜若) is from early May to late May. Japanese irises are planted on the banks of Kyokochi Pond, which is the center of Garden (Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic Site).
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is from mid-November to late November. Maple trees and other plants are distributed in the temple grounds. At Kinkaku-ji Temple, the combination of Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion) and autumn leaves is said to be beautiful. The “upside-down Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion)” colored with autumn leaves is reflected on the surface of Kyokochi Pond.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-461-0013 (Kinkaku-ji Temple)

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Kinkaku-ji Temple is to walk along Kinukake-no-michi to Ryoan-ji Temple and Ninna-ji Temple, both of which are World Heritage sites. Ryoan-ji Temple has a stone garden, Ninna-ji Temple has a five-story pagoda, and so on.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Kinkaku-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山