Before learning anything about Kyoto, Kinkakuji 金閣寺, offficial name Rokuonji 鹿苑寺, was like the poster image of Kyoto for me. When I think about Kyoto, this is the place that comes to mind. Surprisingly, it took me until now to finally pay a visit to this temple.
*REWIND!* While I can go to Kyoto by myself or with other friends any time, I thought it would be more fun to go with some new people. Just like the beginning of last semester, international students can sign up for a Kyoto tour lead by the local Japanese students this term as well. Smaller, individual groups are divided however the international students like and the school staff would assign a couple of Japanese students from the crowd to lead them. They can choose to go wherever they like in Kyoto. Most of the “tour guides” were Japanese freshmen girls ^^;.
First time seeing subway safety doors that reach all the way up to the ceiling o_O. Anyway, the popular choices were Kiyomizudera, Fushimi Inari, and Kinkakuji. It was almost unanimous that everyone wanted to go to Kinkakuji XD. It was also the farthest of the three from campus and not exactly a breeze to get to. It was walk to train station>train>subway>bus and the whole travel took about 1.5 hours and some change.
Look! A giant “大” on top of a mountain!
This is the entrance. It’s very hard to miss while walking past it.
Didn’t know there was such a long walk to the main attraction.
After paying the 400 yen entrance fee, you get a lucky charm for you to hang above your door frame to keep your house safe.
Just a little more!
For me, this is THE image of Kyoto! Too bad the weather is not exactly accommodating that day. It was also getting dark and close to closing time (5 PM). We came so late that we only had like a little less than 30 minutes to check out the whole area ^^;. On the bright side, there were also very few other tourists in the way of getting a clean shot of the temple.
Walkaround to the rear. I dubbed this temple, the 百式寺 hyakushikiji but very few will get my silly reference.
ryumonbaku and rigyoseki.
Scoring a coin inside the bowl was a lot harder than it looks ^^;.
The Sekka-tei tea house. I didn’t realize how big this whole place was…
A shop selling lucky charms and protection amulets.
I believe this shrine is called the Fudodo 不動堂. Get a whiff of those incense smoke onto you to make yourself smarter.
Got some stairs to walk down before making our way to the exit.
I need to come back here during the spring or just during a clear sunny day when Kinkakuji is shining brightly. The place is just beautiful and there is none like it. Had a lot of fun chatting and getting to know our tour guides as well :). What a great way to kick off the semester!