Kyoto Travel Guide

Kyoto Sights

Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

  • 1 Kinkaku-ji-cho Map It
  • Kita-ku
  • Religious Building/Site/Shrine
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 12/20/2010

Fodor's Review

Possibly the world's most ostentatious retirement cottage, the magnificent gold-sheathed Kinkaku-ji was commissioned by Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga (1358–1409). He erected the villa in 1393 in anticipation of the time when he would retire from active politics to manage the affairs of state through the new shogun, his 10-year-old son. On Yoshimitsu's death his son followed his father's wishes and converted the villa into a temple. The grounds were designed in a stroll-garden style favored by 11th-century aristocrats.

The current temple was reconstructed in the 1950s after a monk set fire to the standing structure. The monk's internal conflict is the focus of Yukio Mishima's 1956 famous novel Temple of the Golden Pavilion, published the year after construction had finished. Corresponding to Yoshimitsu's original vision, the top two stories are coated with gold leaf, a spectacular sight when reflected in the pond's still waters. Kinkaku-ji is one of 17 Kyoto-area locations collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Sight Information


1 Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kyoto, Kyoto-fu, 603-8361, Japan

Map It

Sight Details:

  • ¥400

Published 12/20/2010


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