Kinakuji golden temple Kyoto Japan

Japan: Kyoto – Kinkaku-ji and Kiyomizu Dera temple

Date: 23rd March, 2015

After returning from Fushimi Inari-tasiha, I took the train to Kiatoji station and from there I inquired how to get to Kinaku-ji temple. Fortunately there is a tourism help desk with an English-speaking staff to assist, and I was instructed to take bus 204.

Kitaoji bus station Kyoto Japan
The bus bays are like this. Each door is reserved for specific buses, and it only opens when the bus has arrived at the door.
Bus 204 to Kinakuji Kyoto Japan
I had to wait around 10 minutes for the 204
Inside Kyoto bus 204 Japan
The bus fare was ¥230 (₹120/$1.8/€1.7)
Kinakuji entrance Kyoto Japan
From the bus stop, you have to walk for at least 10 minutes to get to the ticket counter
Kinakuji ticket booklet Kyoto Japan
The entry fee to Kinaku-ji costs ¥400 (₹215/$3.26/€3)
Kinakuji panorama Kyoto Japan
As you enter the main grounds, you can see the Kinaku-ji temple in the distance
Kinakuji reflection pond Kyoto Japan
I swapped lenses and took a close up shot of the Golden pavilion
Kinakuji golden temple Kyoto Japan
The Kinaku-ji is one of the most famous Zen Buddhism shrines in all of Japan. Iconic due to its golden exterior and its location in a pond.

Temple inside Kinakuji Kyoto Japan
That said, there were other structures inside the compound. These were the living quarters of the priests. It’s off limits for tourists.
Kinakuji zen buddhism temple Japan
I couldn’t stop myself from photographing the Golden temple of Kyoto
Kinakuji shrine lake Kyoto Japan
I walked around the pond to get a closer look
Duck lake Kinaku-ji Kyoto Japan
Japan tree leaves Kyoto
Japan has a lot of these trees, especially at spiritual places. Any idea what they are called?
Trees Kinakuji lake Kyoto Japan
They’re all around
Kinaku-ji back Kyoto Japan
From the back. I guess tourists are not allowed inside the pavilion.
Golden rooster atop Kinakuji Kyoto
I don’t know what this golden rooster is meant to symbolize
Kinakuji shrine pond Kyoto Japan
Very serene surroundings
Throwing coins Kyoto Japan
Ahh, the usual ‘toss a coin at the right spot for good luck’ game
Hello Kitty Kinakuji booth Kyoto
Hello Kitty Kinaku-ji merchandise
Shrine rope bell Kyoto Japan
Tourists were trying to ring the bell by swinging this heavy rope
Leaving Kinaku-ji steps Kyoto Japan
That was it. I left the compound after spending half an hour inside.

I walked back to the bus station and since I only knew where bus 204 would take me, I boarded the same to head back.

Izumiya Kyoto road Japan
But as the bus rode along, I was realized it was taking a full circle and would take a long time to return to Kitaoji station

So I got down at a bus stop… honestly, I don’t know where. I walked to the nearest train station after opening up Google Maps on my phone and figured out how to get to Kawaramachi station from there.

Subway pillars Kyoto Japan
I don’t even remember the name of this station

By the time I was out of Kawaramachi station, it was nearing 4:30 PM. Fearing I would be late to enter Kiyomizu Dera, I decided to take a taxi there.

Kyoto taxi ride from backseat Japan
Taxis are quite expensive but I didn’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to get to Kiyomizu Dera

It was a short ride, at the most 10 minutes, but it still cost me ¥940 (₹500/$7.6/€7.1).

Tourists Higashiyama district Kyoto
I walked my way up through the many street-lined shops leading up to Kiyomizu Dera
Higashiyama uphill Kyoto Japan
I was in Higashiyama district and a few sakura trees were beginning to bloom here
Higashiyama shops uphill Kyoto Japan
There was still some walking to do from where I was dropped off
Entrance Kiyomizu dera Kyoto Japan
This is the entrance to Kiyomizu dera
Buddhist pagoda Kyoto Japan
More steps. There is an entry fee of ¥300.
Japanese women Kimono Kyoto Japan
Many women in kimonos, although not all of them are Japanese. I also saw a few Chinese and Korean tourists dressed up in kimonos too.
Renovation work Kiyomizu Dera Kyoto
There seemed to be renovation work going on at Kiyomizu Dera
Kiyomizu Dera shrine Kyoto tourism
Kiyomizu Dera is Kyoto’s most famous and one of the oldest Buddhist temples

Praying Buddhist idol Kiyomizu Dera Kyoto

Kiyomizu Dera wooden pillars Kyoto
Like many old temples in Japan, it too is made entirely of wood
Kiyomizu Dera prayer hall Kyoto
This is the main prayer hall
Viewpoint Kiyomizu Dera panorama Kyoto
A panorama from the main prayer hall
Kiyomizu Dera steps Japan
Kiyomizu Dera is also home to other smaller shrines, like this one honouring Okuninushi, the god of love
Okuninushi no Mikoto Kyoto Japan
That’s a statue of Okuninushi-no Mikoto
Lifting stone Kiyomizu dera Kyoto
So this spot is popular among younger folk who try many things like lift a heavy stone in hopes of earning good luck in finding love and good fortune in life
Kiyomizu Dera torii Kyoto Japan
I decided to head there
Tourists Kiyomizu Dera winter Japan
A lot of tourists were catching the sunset from here
Kiyomizudera shrine Kyoto Japan
This angle would have been far more beautiful had the tree fully bloomed
Kiyomizu Dera walkway Kyoto
I walked further
Pagoda Kiyomizu Dera viewpoint
From this viewpoint you can see the whole of Kiyomizu Dera
Kiyomizu Dera panorama Kyoto
A panorama of the entire complex
Trees Kiyomizu Dera temple Japan
I had seen enough and decided leave the other way that leads out to the same entrance/exit
Kiyomizu Dera wooden pillar structure Kyoto
The entire temple structure stands on a network of wooden pillars, which now has metal support to strengthen it
Hello Kitty shop Kyoto Japan
I was back on the shop-lined street
Green tea cream filled pastry Japan
I saw this pastry being filled with green tea cream. So I bought one to taste. It was alright.
Japanese traditional dress in park
Passed by a small park where people were capturing whichever flowers had bloomed
Pink sakura flowers Kyoto Japan
This sakura tree was a darker shade of pink
Pedicab puller Kyoto Japan
Pulled rickshaws are for hire to tourists in this part of Kyoto
Sunset Kyoto traditional Japan
Lovely isn’t it?
Toji temple Japanese tourists Kyoto
I found myself back near Toji Temple… and just like yesterday, it was closed by the time I got near it. Ugh.
Yasaka shrine temple Kyoto
I walked all the way back and found myself at Yasaka shrine
Kyoto Shijo street Japan
The shrine was at the end of Shijo street
Crab leg sticks Kyoto Japan
Inside the shrine grounds was this vendor selling crab sticks. It was cold, this was hot. So I knew what I had to do.
Crab stick street food Kyoto
It was pretty pricey (¥500) for what it actually turned out to be. He advertised it as crab leg meat. What it actually tasted like was your usual mock crab meat that is made using surimi.

I was pretty tired from all the sightseeing, but while walking through Shijo Street, I thought I’d just check out Gion at night. I found myself at Gion Corner and went in just to see if tickets were still available for the cultural show. They were, and although I was on two minds over it, I decided to just go for it and sat down for the cultural show. But all that in the next post.

Next post in the series:

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Gion Corner Cultural Show

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Monkey Park in Arashiyama

Japan 2015: Kyoto Station, and arriving at Himeji by shinkansen

Japan 2015: Himeji Castle, and the unexpected air show

Japan 2015: Nadagiku Shuzo Sake Brewery, leaving Himeji for Tokyo — and my last bullet train ride

Japan 2015: Nakamise street, Senso-ji temple, and Ueno Park sakura at half-bloom

Japan 2015: Ueno Zoo – pandas, a lonely polar bear, and more

Japan 2015: Shibuya – the busiest crossing in the world, and home to a loyal dog

Japan 2015: Nishi-Shinjuku — views from Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building sky deck

Japan 2015: Shopping in Shinjuku, and Kabukicho

Japan 2015: Denboin garden, near Sensoji Temple

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom celebrations by Sumida River

Japan 2015: Boat ride to Odaiba; giant Gundam statue at DiverCity Mall

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms at Tokyo Imperial Palace east garden

Japan 2015: Cherry blossom sightings at Shinjuku Gyoen

Japan 2015: Harajuku on a Sunday – Meiji shrine and Yoyogi Park

Japan 2015: Harajuku at night — Takeshita Street

Japan 2015 – Visiting Akihabara a second time, because why not?

Japan 2015: Cherry blossoms in full bloom at Ueno Park

Japan 2015: Rikugien garden’s weeping cherry blossom tree

Japan 2015: Getting to Hakone; Lake Ashi sightseeing cruise

Japan 2015: Hakone ropeway; onsen at Hotel Green Plaza

Japan 2015: Ōwakudani sulphur springs, views of Mt. Fuji — and last night in Tokyo

Japan 2015: Getting to Narita Airport — and flying an Airbus A380 for the first time

Previous posts in this series:

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Fushimi Inari-taisha, and climbing to the mountain top

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishiki market and Teramachi

Japan 2015: Kyoto – Nishi & Higashi Honganji, Shijo street, and Gion

Japan 2015: Riding a bullet train for the first time, Tokyo to Kyoto

Japan 2015: Walking around Akihabara and Ginza

Japan 2015: Going to Akihabara, and spending way too much time in Yodobashi Akiba

Japan 2015: Landing in Tokyo… and using a communal bath for the first time

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  • Naveena C K


    Excellent and informative post. Thank you,

    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Thanks Naveena!

Comments are closed.