Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji)
Kinkakuji © Chris Gladis
One of Kyoto's most popular attractions is to the north of the city. The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) is a three-storey pavilion covered in gold leaf, glittering alongside waters of a calm pond and surrounded by beautiful gardens. Kinkakuji was built in 1397 as a retirement home for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who lived there in luxury until he died in 1408, after which the building was converted into a Zen temple. In 1950, a monk burnt the pavilion down and it was not rebuilt until 1955. Today it is covered in gold leaf five times thicker than the original coating and presents an awesome sight. A short walk from the pavilion is Ryoanji, Japan's most famous Zen rock garden, laid out in the 15th century.
Address: 1 Kinkaku-ji-cho Kita-ku, Kyoto