Friday was another hot and intensely bright day—and the perfect day to head to the Golden Pavilion. Kinkaku-ji, officially named Rokuon-ji, is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. It is also known as the Golden Pavilion and is one of the most popular buildings in Japan. Which makes sense when one sees it—as it is indeed very gold!
The last time we were there in 2010 it was raining. It was also a bit confusing to get to on the bus. There was nothing in English to let us know where we were while on the bus. This time, the Japanese transportation people have made it much easier. We just had to follow the signs at the Kyoto station for the bus going to Kinkaku-ji. They even color-coded the bus routes and added English names! (See examples.)
We entered through the back of the bus (and paid when exiting). We simply had to listen for the announcement of our destination—in English. The bus reader also shows what the next stop will be— in English! It was so much easier this time around! Yay!
Upon exiting the bus we followed the signs up the small hill and across the street to the entrance and followed the crowd to the entrance gates. There weren’t any apparent signs directing us to the exact entrance, but when in doubt, follow the crowds is my motto, and we found our way easily.
After paying the 400yen, and entering into the shrine area, the park directs everyone to follow the path in one direction—so there really is no getting lost.
The Pavilion was so beautiful and shiny in the bright, hot sunshine! We might have been melting this time around at the Golden Pavilion but the intensity of the sun sure made for bright, blue skies and a pretty intense gold in the pictures!
We walked past the Pavilion, posed to take some pictures and selfies, walked alongside the pond to get pictures from all sides (of the building and garden, not of us). We then started back with the crowds, stopping at one of the gift shops on property where I picked up a sunglass case covered in pretty Japanese silk, then for an icee at a refreshment stand, then out the gates.
There are a lot of gift shops in the area but we are shopped out, so we ignored them all and just jumped back on the bus.
We ate a late lunch than wandered around the Gion district. It really is a great part of Kyoto to stay. There are lots stores for shopping, and bars and restaurants to try, and shrines to add some historic charm.
The main streets of Gion were lit with red lanterns celebrating the Gion Matusuri, which we had come to see. It was pretty and fun to simply wander around.
And after a day spent in the heat, and tasty food and drinks at Kirin City Bar, we were ready to call it a day.