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Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)
Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion)

star-5
3,613 Reviews
Kita-ku Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kyoto, 603-8361

The Basics

You can’t enter the pavilion itself, but crowds come to admire its stunning architecture, enjoy views of the temple across the mirror pond, and stroll around the temple gardens.

Tours of Kyoto’s shrines and temples stop at the Golden Pavilion. A temple tour generally includes a visit to Fushimi Inari Shrine, Sagano Bamboo Forest, and Kyoto Cultural Forest. Alternatively, take the scenic route on a bike tour, visit with a professional photographer guide to maximize your chances of capturing postcard-worthy shots, or combine it with Kyoto attractions, such as Kyoto Imperial Palace and Nijo Castle. It’s also possible to visit on a day trip from Osaka or Nara, or as part of a multi-day Japan itinerary from Tokyo.

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Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
star-4.5
$152.89 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Best experience of the trip
Our tour guide, Yuki was excellent and the tour itself was a great mix of venues with a lot of flexibility. Yuki kept us on schedule without rushing us and provided great commentary on both the tour sites and Japanese culture. If we'd had more time in Japan, I would definitely have looked into any other tours that she might have been leading.
JohnnyB7, Dec 2019

Recent reviews from experiences in Kyoto

star-5
1 day guided tour
Scenic323617, Nov 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Very convenient, just hop in the bus and they will bring you to destinations with history telling along the way
star-5
Great overview of important sites in Kyoto
Marlon C, Nov 2019
Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu Temple from Kyoto
Tour included 6 sites on a busy holiday weekend. We had enough time at each to understand the significance of the site with history and other info provided by our guide. English language tour and the guide was excellent and spoke excellent English. She provided little bits of info about Japan in general and led the group in spite of the crowds to each site. I recommend this trip to visit many sites in one day
star-5
Excellent one day tour
verobizet, Nov 2019
Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Kiyomizu Temple from Kyoto
Perfect day to discover Kyoto. our guide Yuki was were nice Lunch was excellent and organization went very well
star-4
Excellent Kyoto & Nara Bus Tour
Gary S, Oct 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Very good Japanese lady with good English speaking guide. It was a long day but the tour covered major Kyoto and Nara stops. Our grand-kids were not too thrilled with historical stops, but they did enjoy deer park in Nara. Lunch provided could have been better. I recommend this tour for visitors with limited time in Kyoto.
star-4
Good coverage of sights
andrewelizabethw, Oct 2019
Kyoto Highlights 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion & Kiyomizu temple from Osaka
Saw all of the major sights in Kyoto after train journey from Osaka. Guide very knowledgeable but gave too much detailed information and talked while we walked and so it was difficult to hear everything as we were a group of around 40. could have done with 2 groups of 20 to make things easier.
star-4
Pros and Cons
tcm2825, Aug 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Osaka
Overall a good experience, the sights were beautiful and the guide to and from Osaka was wonderful! She gave me insights on the areas between Kyoto Nara and Osaka and even some tidbits on the history and culture. The guides at the sites really didn't give more information than was on the signs, but with no time to read any of them. I wish I could rate them separately and there was more time at each site.
star-5
Great Day Trip
Jane3ds89, Oct 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
We had a good day that ran smoothly, a good knowledgeable guide in Seiko. We would recommend this tour.
star-5
WONDERFUL DAY TOUR
DeeDeeUtah, Sep 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Perfect day tour of temples and shrines in Kyoto, plus a road trip to Nara where we visited more temples, shrines and the Nara Park. All was wonderful. Our English speaking guide, Harumi, was very good to explain some of the history of Kyoto and Nara as we traveled. She was excellent at keeping our group together, giving us time to explore each site. It was a long day, but well worth the extra time to see Nara. Don't miss it.
star-5
A great time
Grace M, Sep 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
This was a really fun experience! We started off in Kyoto, and saw the castle and a few shrines. The guide was very knowledgeable, and nice. We had lunch provided, and switched to another guide for the time in Nara. This was amazing to see the deer! And, the shrine with the lanterns was beautiful! A very smooth and fun tour!
star-4
Very interesting visit
Jean-Pierre S, Sep 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
We saw the famous bouddhist temple in Nara and the imperial palace and golden shrine in Kyoto. The guide was good at explaining the significance of the things we saw. We are happy to have taken the trip
star-5
PJ & Roz tour
1908892, Oct 2019
Kyoto and Nara 1 Day Trip - Golden Pavilion and Todai-ji Temple from Kyoto
Possibly one of the best days we have had. Bus was immaculate (ninja decal) and Yasuee-san our driver very efficient/ good. Psycho-san our guide was brilliant, very knowledgeable with excellent English (including humorous) The itinerary was well planned with good/quick access to all sites - the shrines, buildings and imperial palace were outstanding/ beautiful.⛩ Lunch was nice - well organised with lovely staff. The deer’s in Nara were something we will never forget - so special / nice. We even had a live Buddha look alike 😃 Thanks for a great day.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • There is an admission fee to enter the temple grounds.

  • Plan between 30 minutes and an hour to admire the temple, take photos, and explore the gardens.

  • A traditional Japanese teahouse is in the temple grounds, and souvenir shops, food vendors, and restaurants are just outside the gates.

  • The temple grounds and walkways are wheelchair accessible.

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How to Get There

The Golden Pavilion, at the foot of Kinugasa Hill in northwest Kyoto, is a short taxi ride from downtown Kyoto. Bus 100 and 205 run there from Tokyo Station, and it’s a brief bus or taxi ride from the closest subway, Kitaoji Station (Karasuma Line).

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When to Get There

The Golden Pavilion can get extremely crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Get there before tour buses show up or before closing for the best chance of a crowd-free view. For the best photos, avoid the midday sun, visit in autumn for a colorful and interesting backdrop, or be there on one of the year’s coldest days to snap a shot of the snow-covered temple.

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Golden Pavilion Architecture

The Golden Pavilion began as shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s 14th-century villa and transformed into a Zen Buddhist temple after his death. Numerous wars over the years have burned down and destroyed it, but the current temple, rebuilt in 1955, retains unique architectural details. Each floor showcases a different style: the Shinden-style first floor, the Bukke-style second floor, and the Chinese Zen hall-inspired top two floors.

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