In this article I will keep writing about the places that must be absolutely visited if you will ever travel in Japan’s old capital:
3. Kinkakuji – 金閣寺
The Kinkakuji, meaning the “Golden Pavillion” in English, is a Zen temple whose two top floors are made of gold and was built and used as retirement house by Yoshimitsu. Yoshimitsu Ashikaga was a former Shogun that ruled during 室町時代 (“Muromachi Period” 1336 – 1573). This Shogunate paid more attention to the culture and literature development of the Japanese society and cared less about the political alliances. The Shogun’s grandson was inspired so much by this building’s architecture, that made him build something similar on the opposite side of Kyoto, the Ginkakuji, literally translated as “Silver Pavilion“. The Kinkakuji was burned down several times throughout the centuries but the most curious case was when a crazy monk set it on fire in recent times.
We left Tokyo in early morning by train, which of course, was the Shinkansen, reaching Kyoto in the late morning so that we had time to visit around…the only problem was the awful weather that kept running after us from Tokyo. Throughout our journey on train, the bad weather was omnipresent; in every city the train stopped in, there were huge and menacing clouds, covering the sky.
Our first stop was, obviously, the “Golden Pavilion“, as it is one of the most well-known landmark of Kyoto and we could tell its fame from the huge crowd of people at the entrance! What made everything worse was that everyone had an umbrella; well yeah, you can imagine the chaos xD Even taking photos was really hard as I am very short and everyone was taller than me with those ducking umbrellas on the way! Luckily, the umbrellas are transparent 😀 The building is surrounded by a large pound and never-ending green wood. There is even something like a small island in the pound, where a small Shinto Shrine can be found. Every Buddhist Temple in Japan have, then, a small Shinto Shrine nearby, it is beautiful how the two religions can cohabit without problems!
- How to Reach:
- Kinkakuji can be reached from Kyoto Station by bus number 101 or 205, the journey takes 30 minutes and the price ticket is 230 yen.
- Another way to reach the Kinkakuji is using the Subway Line and stop at Kitaoji Station but I highly advice you all to take the bus, as the bus network is much more developed than the Subway and every place are reachable.
- The temple is open everyday from 9.00 until 17.00 and the ticket price is 400 yen
4. Toji – 東寺
The Toji, meaning “East Temple” in English, was built at the beginning of 平安時代 (Heian Period 794-1185), just after the Japan’s capital was moved from Nara to Heiankyo, nowadays Kyoto, due to the great rising power and influence of Buddhism in the previous capital.
The religious complex is very huge and takes some time to visit it all, it consists, indeed, of three halls: the original temple structure is Kondo Hall, which hosts a Buddha Statue, where you not allowed to take photos, then the Kodo Hall, which is the temple’s lecture room and in the end, Miedo Hall, where the statue of the founder, Kobo Daishi, can be found.
A very picturesque sight, I love above everything else, is the five-storied pagoda, which is something like 50 meters tall so in a nutshell, the tallest pagoda in Japan! Impressive, isn’t it?! I could take some cliché photos of this beautiful building *^*
We wandered a lot inside this area, which is very large, and stopped a bit under the shadow of a tree as we went around all day long, running from a city’s side to another xD My father even tried to take photos of the Buddha, despite the presence of security guard, he managed D: Moreover we could enjoy daily life since we witnessed people coming here to pray and worship Buddha 😉
- Toji can be easily reached by foot if you are in Kyoto Station.
- Alternatively, it can be reached using the Kintetsu Kyoto Line and get off at Toji Station.
- The temple is open everyday from 8.30 until 16.30 or 17.30 if in summer and the ticket price is 500 yen