Posts Tagged With: kinkakuji

Kyoto & Osaka Adventures – Matt’s Trip To Japan

Just wait until I tell you about my weekend! It was positively, absolutely incredible!

My brother Matt and his friend Tim came to Japan for a holiday. I couldn’t unfortunately take a lot of time off from work as it’s a really busy season for Japanese schools, but I was able to pop down to Osaka and Kyoto this weekend to play local tour guide. I was so excited to see my little brother I could hardly sleep the days leading up to our adventure!

Saturday we toured around Kyoto and I brought the boys to some of my favourite places and temples. I knew it would be my last trip to Kyoto, so it was really nice to see my favourite temples one last time and share them with my brother.

First stop was Kinkakuji Temple. The boys were delighted to get to ring the enormous bell inside the temple grounds.
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Then we meandered over, through the throngs of school kiddies out on their annual school trip, to the actual pavilion. I had never seen Kinkakuji look so beautiful! The temple was magnificent to behold with a robins egg blue sky in the background and the brilliant sunshine making it really sparkle. Also, the iris flowers around the temple pond were in full bloom much to my delight! (For more info in Kinkakuji click here)

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We arrived in downtown Kyoto, it was a scorcher of a hot day so we grabbed some matcha ice cream and took a shameless selfie. IMG_4472Our tongues turned thoroughly green and our stomachs happy, we skipped down the street to relax and putter around my favourite zen temple Kennin-ji. Matt and Tim both said that it was their favourite temple in Japan so far. Or perhaps I was simply so enthusiastic about being there, and singing it’s numerous praises, they dared not break my bubble of happiness…

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My favourite part of that whole day was walking around Kennin-ji and finally sitting down for a ‘quiet’ moment to contemplate the beautiful rock garden! Matt and Tim made friends with some of the cute girls wearing kimono and these photos were the highlight of their day.IMG_4631 IMG_4698

Truly tuckered out I retreated to my favourite cafe Malebranche in Kyoto Station to relax a little while the boys went shopping for Japanese goodies.  This was a  bittersweet and nostalgic moment, Malebranche’s cafe is one of my favourite cafes in the world and it would be my last time ever sitting there in it’s tranquility and comfort.IMG_4500

It’s a good thing I rested up because that night we went out on the town! Osaka’s big city lights lured the boys out of the hostel for a few beers and good times. I had to call it quits at 2 am little party pooper that I am eventhough the boys were ready to stay out till the sun came up; what can I say, these old bones of mine just couldn’t keep up! IMG_4503


We woke up tired but excited Sunday morning. Today was the day we were off to see some owls! A new and big trend in Japan is Owl Cafes which is basically a place where you go to hang out with live owls! Matt and I are die-hard Harry Potter fans, so this interaction with live owls was a dream come true.

Osaka today, Hogwarts tomorrow! Oh how I wish! Owl Cafe Osaka IMG_4753 IMG_4746We had a hoot at the Owl Cafe in Osaka (*wink wink*) and we all agreed it was a really memorable experience.

It’s pretty hard to beat that experience but I was determined to visit the Fushimi Inari Shrine with the boys. They were so templed-out by this point (a common affliction in Kyoto) that I had to promise them this was the grand finale and insist that they couldn’t leave Japan without seeing this magical place.

IMG_4809 IMG_4834 IMG_4843I normally hate to say, “I told you so!” but this was one of those times I couldn’t resist. The boys even admitted afterwards that they definitely would have regretted not going! I’m a pretty good tour guide, if I do say so myself. (For more info on the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto click here)

All too soon we had to say our goodbyes. I to go back to work in Fukui, and the boys to go on to have more crazy Japan adventures. Luckily it wouldn’t be long until we saw each other again. On Friday they will be coming to Fukui and I can’t wait to show them around my stomping grounds!

Categories: Life in Japan, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto


Kinkakuji is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, and indeed all of Japan. It is the singular most beautiful building I believe in the entire city and therefore my #2 recommendation for places to visit when in Kyoto.

It’s name Kinkakuji means “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” and it is appropriately named because the top two stories are covered with pure gold leaf.


About Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺):

Kinkakuji is an impressive Zen Buddhist temple built overlooking a large pond named Kyōko-chi, or in English “The Mirror Pond”.  This pavilion was built at the end of the 14th century and was originally intended as a villa for Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the shogun at the time. After his death, it later became a temple.

Although the original building has burned down numerous times – once due to the Onin Civil War, and a second time in 1950 because it was set on fire by a fanatic monk –  is still breathtaking to behold.

Recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage, Kinkaku-ji is one of the historical buildings most representative of Japan.kinkakuji2Tips For Visitors:

  • The very best spot for pictures with the temple in the background is as soon as you enter into the garden.
  • At this prime photo location there will be hoards of tourists. It is always busy from open to close, it’s inevitable. Prepare yourself mentally to hold your ground, wait patiently and seize the moment when you get a chance to have that fence area all to yourself.
  • I can’t even begin to describe how crazy and pushy people can be here, the camera-trigger-happy visitors will make you want to flee as quickly as possible but try not to let them ruin your special moment viewing it. Laugh. Breathe. Smile!
  • After you finish taking photos, take a step back and savor the view. (For additional entertainment, watch the crazy camera wielding people!) Then when you’re ready, continue along the path into the gardens walking slowly.  kinkakuji3

Entrance Fee: 400yen

How to get to Kinkakuji Temple:*Note that getting to kinkakuji temple will take a while as it’s located far from the city center and other tourist locations. By bus is the easiest route, although it will take some time.

  • By Bus: From Kyoto station take bus #101, #205 until the stop “Kinkakuji-michi” (220yen) (time: 40-minutes or more if heavy traffic) (Check out the bus map here)
Categories: Tips For Traveling In Japan | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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