The Pros and Cons of Visiting The Golden Pavilion

Chances are if you’re reading this then you’ve already heard of Kyoto’s Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion). But have you had the chance to visit?

Those able to answer “yes” to that question will know of its main drawcard; it’s beautiful, right? Those same people will almost certainly know about the downside; you’re not alone.


Is it just me or is there something about a whole bunch of snap-happy tourists that ruins the vibe a little? Of course, the hypocrisy in my little protest is that I took that there picture ↑↑, thereby contributing not only to the extreme number of feet on pavilion grounds but also to the snap-happery.

What about those people who are yet to visit Kinkaku-ji and might be reading this to gain a tiny bit of insight into what the place might be like? Well, there’s some good news in addition to the beauty of the place.

Have you noticed how most of the images you will see of The Golden Pavilion don’t include a million and one random heads in the foreground, like a lot of other tourist-heavy places? That’s because there’s a pond between the pavilion and the punters. So from an Instagrammer’s perspective, that’s good.

Another pro that we’ve already touched on; it truly is a remarkable sight to gaze upon. Along with the surrounding gardens, Kinkaku-ji truly embodies why so many people board a Japan-bound plane.

The shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu built the place as something of a retirement villa and as per his will and wishes, it was turned into a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect when he passed away in 1408. Since that time, it has been burned to the ground on more than one occasion, most recently in 1955 after a fanatic monk torched it in 1950.

All in all, the pros outweigh the cons and there’s a reason this place happens to be one of the most-visited and photographed places in Japan. Don’t forget to visit the Sekkatei Teahouse and Fudo Hall.

If haven’t been, get there!

From Kyoto station, bus number 205 should get you there in a little over half and hour. If you want to save yourself 5 or 10 mintues and don’t mind paying a little extra, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station and then jump on bus 101, 102, 204 or 205.

9 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Visiting The Golden Pavilion

  1. Similar story, we have to queue with other people to get a good spot on the edge of the fence. By the way, I really enjoy Kyoto bus ride. Bus can take me anywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I thought it was good that most people just went in, took their photos from the usual spot, then made their way further into the grounds. Once we got past the main photo spot, it didn’t seem as crowded. I reckon most people who visit Kinkakuji leave with more or less the same photo!

    Liked by 1 person

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