Monday, September 12, 2011

[KYOTO] The Golden Pavilion of Kinkakuji

What do you do with a Golden Pavilion? You pose in front of it! This is not a sequel of Despicable Me and you don’t have the high-tech gadgets to steal wonderful landmarks and display them incognito in your backyard. Of course, there is an entrance fee and they say that they are only open until five, which makes me wonder how I was able to spend around an hour in there despite coming in 30 minutes before closing.

The Golden Pavilion is the tourist draw in here. Once you see it, you’ll forget that you paid an entrance fee for it. Or you might go back to the ticket area to pay extra because you’d think the entrance fee is not enough to be granted the privilege of staring at this wonderful piece of golden joy. Okay, I am exaggerating. Sorry, I'm just amused. You might have to battle it out with the other tourists to get a decent spot for a photo op. There's a mini platform in front of the pond where the pavilion is located. This is specified in the tourist map as THE photo spot. Other tourists can take your photo for you if you're alone. Make sure to return the favor. Don’t be impatient. Don’t push them off the ledge. That’s bad. Just accidentally trip the die-hard camwhores who have been posing there for two hours already.

The place has a few palaces with the recurring brown motif, but they just disappear once you set your gaze at the golden pavilion. Too bad you can't go inside. That thing would probably collapse within a year if opened for tourists. Be happy with your souvenir photo. Besides, you might just get bored inside. What could it probably hide inside its walls, right? The treasures of Yamashita?

There's a hiking trail so it'd be easy to avoid getting lost, unless you want to wander in prohibited areas which would most likely be open to the public if they're meant to be open for the public. Back on topic, I don’t know if this is also a World Heritage Site. One advice I could give, though, is to also include it in your itinerary. If you can only visit two tourist attractions, just see this one and the Nijo Castle. From Nijo Castle you can ride the Raku 101 Bus. These buses have three routes and distinguishable from each other through their colors. I think I rode the Purple one. Oh no, I forgot the colors! HAHAHA. But I did remember the number: 101! The fare is similar to those of local buses plying the same routes: 220 yen. Why ride this bus instead? English sign board showing where you are at each stop.

As for the Imperial Palace it was already sundown when I reached it and they seem to have a no lights policy there. Only the gates had sufficient lighting enough for me to take a crappy photo. Wikitravel says entrance is free but you'll have to book a tour with the administration office, which I suppose is also free. You really cannot see a lot from the outside, just some palace roofs and nothing more. From Kinkakuji there is a bus going straight here but the particular road in front of the Imperial Palace Garden (very big one with some residential areas here and there) is a long one, and most of the stops carry the road’s name (Marutamachi), which makes it hard to remember which is which. There’s also a subway station in front of it, that one might be the better option.

In the end I ate at Matsuya for the first time. What makes them different from Yoshinoya is that they have a ticket vendo with pictures of all the meal combinations on it. You just insert a bill or some coins, press the corresponding button, retrieve the ticket, and give it to them. Only 250 yen for a beef bowl with miso soup and refillable water! It was already around 7 PM and I was wondering if I should still go to Gion for some Geisha hunting. In the end, I did!

1 creature(s) gave a damn:

marc said...

Wonderful temple. The omamori of Kinkaku-ji temple can be found on

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