Good for: Photography, temple, Japanese History, Sand Garden, Autumn leaves
Not good for: Can get crowded
- 2 Ginkaku-ji-chō Sakyō-ku
- admission ¥500
- 8.30am-5pm Mar-Nov, 9am-4.30pm Dec-Feb
Lonely Planet review for Ginkaku-ji
Ginkaku-ji is one of Kyoto's premier sights. In 1482 Shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimasa constructed a villa here as a genteel retreat from the turmoil of civil war. The villa's name translates as 'Silver Pavilion', but the shōgun's ambition to cover the building with silver was never realised. After Yoshimasa's death, the villa was converted into a temple.
Walkways lead through the gardens, which include meticulously raked cones of white sand (said to be symbolic of a mountain and a lake), tall pines and a pond in front of the temple. A path also leads up the mountainside through the trees.
Note that Ginkaku-ji is one of the city's most popular sites, and it is almost always crowded, especially during the spring and autumn. We strongly recommend visiting right after it opens or just before it closes.
From JR Kyoto or Keihan Sanjō Station, take bus 5 and get off at the Ginkaku-ji-michi stop. From Demachiyanagi Station or Shijō Station, take bus 203 to the same stop.