For those who are wondering,
「I plan on going to Kinkaku-ji!」
「What kind of place is Kinkaku-ji!」
then this article is for you!
Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information you need in order to further enjoy Japan.
What we, the information brokers of Japan, would like to introduce to you in this article is the history and some fun-facts of the famous Kinkaku-ji!
Now let’s get right into it!
A Place You Would Want To Go To When In Kyoto,「Kinkaku-ji」!
If you have been to Kyoto, then you may have heard of or wanted to go to the famous Kinkaku-ji.
Golden leafs are used without restraint on the building itself and combining it with the mirror lake surrounding it creates a breath-taking scenery that will make you stop in your tracks.
Do You Know The Official Name And History Of Kinkaku-ji?
The official name of Kinkaku-ji is “Rokuon-ji” and it is affiliated with the Rinzai Soukoku School. The reason it is known as Kinkaku-ji is because of the famous Shari-den Kinkaku. It was originally a large scale residence built and called the “Sanso Kitayama-den” by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who inherited the vacation home of the noble of the Kamakura period, Saionji Kitsune
The garden and architecture centered around Kinkaku is said to be a conjuring of nirvana with the culture of that age being especially called Kitayama culture. _Atfer Yoshimitsu died, his will wrote to keep the Shariden Kinkaku when demolishing the premises and build a Buddhist temple over it. He wrote further to name it using 2 of the characters from his priest’s name “Rokuoin-dono”. This one remaining Shariden (where a bone of the Buddha is enshrined), is in fact the reason for the name Kinkaku-ji.
Kinkaku-ji Was Once Destroyed In A Fire?!
The Kinkaku-ji that we currently have has actual been rebuilt once.
In 1950, Kinkaku-ji has been burned down due a young monk. Though it may be a bit hard to believe as it is recognized as a world heritage and so famous that it was even printed in textbooks. The ludicrous motive of this arson was because he was “jealous of its beauty”. It is so famous and beautiful that someone wanted to burn it down out of jealousy, which should speak for itself.
Furthermore, Mishima Yukio, an influential author at the time even wrote a novel about this incident, titled “Kinkaku-ji”. It writes a detailed story from the perspective of the young monk who set fire to Kinkaku-ji and his thought process.
There Is A Hidden Meaning Behind The Architecture Of Kinkaku-ji?!
If you understand the architecture of Kinkaku-ji then you will enjoy it even further.
The first floor of Kinkaku-ji is the “Hosui-in” and it represents a court. The second floor is built for a samurai family, is called the “Chou-ondo” and it represents a warrior. The third floor is called the “Kukkyouchcou”.
There is a small island in the middle of the mirror lake that is supposed to represent Japan and his desire to take over it as he looked upon the island from Kinkaku-ji.
The Kinkaku-ji That Changes With The Seasons
Another face of Kinkaku-ji comes as the change of the seasons does, giving it more charm. The seasons when Kinkaku-ji is especially beautiful are Autumn and Winter as the clashing colors between the Autumn leaves and snow, respectively, create a fantastical scenery.
Address：1 KinkakujichōKita-ku, Kyoto, 603-8361
About a 5 minute walk from the bus stop “Kinkakujimichi”
About a 1 minute walk from the bus stop “Kinkakujimae”
【Price】Highschool And Above: 400yen、Elementary school 300yen
【Disability Discount】Highschool and above (Only for the person with the disability): 300yen、Elementary and Middle School Students: Free ※Must show their healthbook.