Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion


Day 4: KYOTO - Shimogamo-Jinja, Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion, Ryoanji, Ninnaji, Arashiyama

So with the body and mind charged with energy, we stand in the streets of Kyoto before 7 in the morning.

We started touring the streets of Kyoto

Today we have a full day of visits again and with a huge desire to eat the city, we planted in the Kyoto Station where today we repeat the same action as yesterday, take out 24-hour passes for the bus for 500 yen.

Kyoto Station
Kyoto bus pass vending machine

Although we already noticed that there is life in the streets of Kyoto, it shows that today we are in the area almost 2 hours earlier than we did yesterday, so we are almost alone in the line of bus number 205 which will be the one that will take us directly to what will be the first stop today, he Shimogamo-Jinja Temple.

Kyoto bus 205 stops
Kyoto bus

It took us a little more than 20 minutes to arrive and the sky is still quite cloudy, although when we checked the weather forecast, it showed a splendid sun for today.
So we do not worry too much about this issue and continue to enjoy the walk that will take us to another of the Kyoto's most famous temples.
From bus stop 205 you have to walk for 5 minutes and enter a forest along a path, where after a few meters we find ourselves facing a Torii that tells us that we are approaching the place we are looking for.

Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

Upon entering the premises of Shimogamo-Jinja Temple that sweet smell that has Kyoto.

Sake barrels at the entrance of Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

This sanctuary dates from the eighteenth century and has been declared World Heritage by UNESCO.
It is said that in the wooded area where it is located the lie cannot be hidden, so it is considered an ideal place to resolve disputes.

Interior of Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

The sanctuary is dedicated to the god of the harvest. Traditionally, pure water was taken from nearby rivers for agricultural and purification ceremonies.

Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

The Hondo, main hall, dates from 1863 and, like the Haiden room in the twin shrine of Kamigamo-jinja, is an excellent example of the architectural style of Nagare shrines.

Details of Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

At every step we take, the more we are in love with Shimogamo-Jinja Temple.

Shimogamo-Jinja Temple Enclosure

The truth is that we had many images in mind of everything we were going to be able to see in this Trip to Japan, but we have to say, that in two days that we have been here, all our expectations have already been exceeded.

Shimogamo-Jinja Temple

We are in the Shimogamo-Jinja Temple just over 45 minutes and knowing the tight day we have today, we retrace our steps, to catch bus 205, which will take us directly to the next stop today and perhaps one of the Japan's best known images, he Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji.
It took less than 10 minutes to arrive from the Shimogamo-Jinja Temple until the Golden Pavilion and we follow the indications that are on the road signs, since in the road we don't find any cartel, at least in our alphabet, that indicates the path we have to follow.
This is one of the things we are seeing since we arrived at Japan, it is very difficult to orient without a GPS or at least for us, as we said we have a zero orientation, since there are not many indications of the places.

Kinkakuji Road the Golden Pavilion

Before arriving at Golden Pavilion, we have to climb a small hill for 5 minutes and after going through the box office and paying 300 yen per person, you only need to travel a few meters to meet us.

Entering the Golden Pavilion in Kinkakuji

He Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji He welcomes us with a particularly sunny day, something that we hadn't realized until now, and reminds us why we like to travel so much.

Awesome Kinkaku-Ji with a spectacular sky ...

Things like these are what make us want to keep traveling forever.
The famous Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji It is one of the most important points of Japan. The building was built in 1397 as a retirement home for the Ashikaga Yoshimitsu sogún and his son turned it into a temple.

Next to Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion

In 1950, a young monk consumed his obsession with the temple by reducing it to ashes.
In 1955 a complete reconstruction was completed that faithfully followed the original design, but a coating with gold leaf sheets was added on the lower floors.

Awesome Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion
Kinkaku-Ji in black and white

We can not stop looking at it or taking pictures, it is one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.

Another perspective of Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion

We are dumbfounded at the perfection we have before our eyes.
Is incredible!! Awesome!!
We only have one thing clear, this image of Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji It will remain forever in our retinas.

The minutes pass without realizing it and many people start to arrive, so we prefer to make a small detour around the lake, following the itinerary of the visit and when we see that there are fewer people, we return to the front of the Kinkakuji, to take some more photos.

Views of Kinkaku-Ji in the distance ...
Leaving Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion

When we look at the clock, we cannot believe it, we have been here for more than an hour and expecting that the visit is quite fast, since Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji you can only see the outside, we decided that it is time to get on the way to the next point of the day: Ryoan-Ji, another of the Most important temples in Kyoto.
But first of all, we make a stop to buy postcards and stamps for 900 yen and buy a coffee and a coffee with milk from the vending machines, for 120 yen each.

And now it's time to take a coffee! Kinkakuji the Golden Pavilion

With a spectacular sun, we take the opportunity to sit on a bench for a while, to have a quiet coffee and with recharged forces, we start again.
Now it is time to look for the bus stop 59 that after a few laps, we discover that it is right at the same exit of the Kinkakuji compound the Golden Pavilion.
But first we see something that makes us delay our journey by bus, a post of Hanami Dango, that we can not miss!
For 150 yen we ask for one and so we have our first experience trying Japanese cuisine "on the street" ... And we can not say anything other than ... great!

Enjoying some great Hanami Dango!

And now yes, with 100% renewed energy, we go to bus stop 59 and we have to wait a few minutes until it arrives.
The journey to the next stop is less than 10 minutes and we descend just in front of the entrance of the Ryoan-Ji Temple.
This is one of the visits we most want to do in Kyoto and the truth is that with the morning so complete that we are having, we even believe that it is difficult to surprise ourselves with something better than what we have seen so far ...
We pay 500 yen per person to enter and the first thing we do is to travel a path, surrounding a lake, where Zen is present in every corner.

Ryoan-ji Temple
Walking the path that will take us to the Zen garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple
Ryoan-ji Temple

One of the most beautiful parts of the Ryoan-ji Temple is the Kyoyo-chi pond, which leaves us totally enchanted as soon as we have it in front of us.

Kyoyo-chi pond in the Ryoan-ji Temple
Ryoan-ji Temple

We arrive at the enclosure of the Garden itself and after taking off our shoes, we pass through an exhibition area and go straight to the Zen Garden.

Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple

The Ryoan-ji Temple belongs to the Zen Rinzai school and was founded in 1450. The most famous attraction of this temple is the garden, arranged according to the kare-sansui style or dry landscape.
An austere collection of 15 rocks is enclosed within an earthen wall, apparently drifting in a sea of ​​sand.

Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple
Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple

The platform to see the Zen Garden is almost always crowded with people and today could not be less, so we intuit that the best time to visit is first thing in the morning.

Contemplating the incredible Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple

On some occasions we have commented on the energy that we have felt in some places we visited, as it happened in Lisbon, in the Sao Domingo Church and today here, in the Ryoan-Ji Temple, it has been one of the places where we have been surprised by the stronger way.
On this occasion, the energy that surrounds us gives off an incredible peace, which is felt in every corner.
I wouldn't have minded having 1000 people around me screaming, because at that time we were just the Zen Garden and me.

After a few minutes, sitting, admiring what we have before us, we feel with 100% charged batteries. It is something very difficult to explain, we can only say that it is an incredible feeling and that after half an hour sitting there, we got up with “something” that did not come with us when we arrived…

Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple
Model of the Zen Garden of the Ryoan-ji Temple

When we leave, for a path that is possible, more spectacular than the garden itself, we realize that we have been here for more than an hour and although with recharged batteries, we can not ignore the time, so we headed towards the stop from bus 59 to go to Ninna-Ji.

Leaving the Ryoan-ji Temple
Ryoan-ji Temple

The other parts of the enclosure are even more beautiful than the Zen Garden itself. And as we did at the entrance, we get lost again by the Kyoyo-chi pond.

Kyoyo-chi. Ryoan-ji Temple
Views of Kyoyo-chi. Ryoan-ji Temple

But being at the stop, we connect the GPS and see that we are only 600 meters away, so we decided to walk, because today, so far, it has been a day of bus transfers and we need to warm our legs!
In a few minutes we reach the entrance of Ninna-Ji and just by approaching we see what awaits us, another “pearl” of Kyoto.


The Ninna-ji Temple was built in 842 and is the most important of the Omura branch of the Shingon Buddhist school.

Entering Ninna-ji

The current buildings of the temple and the 5-story pagoda are from the 17th century.

5-story Ninna-ji Pagoda

It's a little after 12.30 in the morning when we finish the visit to Ninna-ji, with a great taste and completely convinced that Kyoto it won't stop surprising us while we're here ...


Seeing what time it is, we are on our way to Arashiyama, another of the maxims in Kyoto and that assures us an incredible end to a day that is proving impressive.
Just today ends the light show that they do each year by these dates in Arashiyama and we will have the good fortune of being able to enjoy it this evening, when you turn on the hundreds of lanterns that will guide us through one of the most representative places in this area of ​​the city.
Just in front of Ninna-Ji we take bus 56 and at the last stop we get off to make a transfer and take bus number 11 that will leave us directly at Arashiyama.

Kyoto bus

In Kyoto There are hundreds of Temples that we want to know, but it is impossible to do everything in the days we have, so we have to follow the route of the best known and important and if there is some time to take advantage of to know everything we can
Today, being a holiday in Arashiyama, bus 11 does not stop within Arashiyama, so we will have to get off a few meters from the place where we usually stop and walk a few meters.

Bus from Kyoto to Arashiyama

This is not going to go wrong to take advantage of and find a place to fill the stomach!
As soon as we get off the bus, we are immersed in a festive atmosphere that surrounds us and makes us smile without realizing and looking at ourselves thinking the same thing: every minute that passes we like more Japan.

Arashiyama views
Streets of Arashiyama

After a good walk through the streets of ArashiyamaWe stopped at a restaurant where we ordered two plates of chilled soba tempura and a beer, plus tea, which they put for free, for 2300 yen.

Eating in Arashiyama

We have eaten phenomenal, but the anecdote remains when the waitress warns us that the noodles are “cold” and we, believing that she is making a mistake, nodded without turning it over… and when the plate arrives at the table… it turns out that the Noodles are cold !!! And the truth is that, although they are not bad, that of eating cold noodles ... is not ours 😉
And when it's almost 3 in the afternoon we see that it's time to get back on track to visit the most important areas of Arashiyama.

Arashiyama plane

The district of Arashiyama, located at the foot of the western mountains of Kyoto, is the most important in terms of points of interest.
The biggest attraction is the famous Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and many of the Arashiyama temples.
At the first Temple we go to is the famous Tenryū-ji, where we pay 500 yen per person to enter and nothing else to do so, we are again overwhelmed by a Zen atmosphere that leaves us with a feeling of total relaxation.

Tenryū-ji's details

Tenryū-ji is one of the most important temples of the Zen Rinzai school. It was built in 1339 on the old enclave of Emperor Go-Daigo's country house, after a priest dreamed of a dragon that emerged from the nearby river.
The dream was interpreted as a sign of the spirit of the emperor who was restless and a temple was built to appease him.


The current buildings are from 1900 and the Zen garden of the 14th century.


One of the parts of Tenryū-ji is being restored, so we cannot access that area, but we continue walking through its fantastic gardens, until we reach one of the Kyoto's most famous places and of Arashiyamathe awesome Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.

Leaving Tenryū-ji

And what can we say? We cannot write any phrase that does not contain the word impressive or incredible.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

That is the only description we can give to another of the most beautiful places we have ever been.

One of the most amazing places we have ever visited… Bamboo of Arashiyama
Immortalizing the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama

Here, how could it be otherwise, we had a good time taking pictures and trying to capture everything we feel with the cameras. Something that is not easy and that costs a lot to capture in a single image.

Perched fun in the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

We leave the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest and we go down some spectacular streets, with a festive atmosphere, in search of the Nison-in Temple, although it is not easy to arrive, because we are stopping at all times with everything we see and part of the signage, as we have already mentioned in some occasion, it's not too good ...

Leaving the Bamboo Forest of Arashiyama

In the end we find the way we have to follow to get there and in less than 5 minutes there we are !!

Arashiyama's details
Things you see in Arashiyama
Houses in Arashiyama

But once at the door, we see that time is on us, so we do not enter and continue walking through this area of Arashiyama, more and more in love not only with Kyoto, but of the whole of a country that is far exceeding all the expectations we had placed on it.
We make a technical stop at a craft store, where they offer us a couple of green teas, which make us feel great and we take the opportunity to get a beautiful set of bamboo glasses for 3680 yen.

Nison-in Temple Gate

From here we keep getting lost among the streets of Arashiyama until we reach the Gio-ji Temple, but when we get there we see that it is after 4:30 pm, so we can no longer enter.

Gio-ji Temple Gate

It is clear that the next time we come to Japan, we will have left many things to know yet.
Being almost 5 in the afternoon and the time at which the lighting of Arashiyama, we decided to start retracing our steps to be in the area of Arashiyama Bamboo Forest when it starts


And to expect nothing better than sitting in a beach bar, with a hanami dango in hand, for 100 yen each stick.

Recharging energies in Arashiyama
Making time in Arashiyama

And punctual as the Japanese rules say, the hundreds of lanterns that invade all the streets and temples of Arashiyama.

And the light reaches Arashiyama ...

And although the photos cannot really show what we have before our eyes, there is nothing better so that at least, they can become a sample.
And the surprise comes, if it is possible to be surprised at this point of the day, when we get back to the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, which now looks more impressive if possible ...

Awesome!! Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

When it's 7 p.m. we end our day in Arashiyama and we go in search of a bus that returns us to the area of ​​our hotel in Kyoto, the Citadines Kyoto Karasuma-Gojo.
In the end, after a good while at the stop we are almost frozen, today the cold in Arashiyama It has been noticed quite a lot, pass the number 11 bus that takes us to the Gojo area, which is where we have our hotel in Kyoto.

Christmas in Kyoto

We went up to the room to leave our backpacks and almost without resting we went down to one of the restaurants that we have next door, where we premiered with the famous plastic dishes and ticket machines!
We ordered a couple of rice dishes with battered chicken and we are not going to lie, the truth is that we are not too funny, but with the day we had today, we need to charge energy, so we eat it all like champions .

Dinner in Kyoto

And after resting for a while and before we go to the room to rest, we go through 7Eleven to reload the bag of breakfast and several snacks and we go straight to dream about Kyoto
We have been traveling its streets for more than 15 hours and although we are busted ... we are looking forward to tomorrow to return to "live" this city that has fallen in love with us ...

Kinkakuji, one of the most impressive places in Japan
Enjoying Ninna-ji
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest