Wednesday, March 7, 2012

kyoto: kinkaku-ji

After checking out the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, we caught the JR to the Kyoto Station for 140 yen. First thing we did was to get a Kyoto City Bus One-Day Pass for 500 yen which includes a free bus map that I've included below. I highly recommend buying the day pass especially if you take the bus more than two times. Buses inside the city center have a flat rate fee of 220 yen so if you ride the bus three times, the pass already pays for itself. Since the bus was so convenient and had stops at all the tourist locations I never looked into using the subway. The buses are very foreigner friendly, there are signs and announcements in different languages.

We went all the way across the city to Kinkaku-ji or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. The pavilion was originally a villa of Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of Askikaga but got converted into a Zen Buddhist temple upon his death in accordance to his will. The top two stories are covered in pure gold leaf and each floor of the pavilion consists of a different architectural style.

The pavilion is part of the Rokuon-ji complex (ji = temple) but unfortunately all the buildings from that time came to ruin, except for Kinkaku-ji. The pond is called Kyōko-chi or Mirror Pond, aptly named as it gives such a nice reflection of the pavilion.

Visitors aren't allowed to enter the pavilion but there was some pictures of how the interior looked like. Upon paying the admission fee, we were given a paper charm or ofuda which we can hang in our house.

There were a lot of students that were visiting the temples on school field trips. One of these groups consisted of all girls who kept screaming hello to Riley. We would be talking animatedly and then all we would hear would be screams of hello in the background which Riley ignored. Haha.

I love all the school girl uniforms - its like real life anime/manga! The school girls themselves I wasn't as happy since there was so many of them I had to hustle hard core to make sure they didn't get into my pictures. Some of them even asked to take pictures with Riley. The really funny thing is that there were a lot of foreigners there but I didn't see any of them get asked to get their pictures taken. Those girls must have thought Riley was someone famous. They kept giggling and I would make fun of them by turning around and pointing to Riley and going "Sugoi!" which means wow or awesome and it was hilarious because the girls would nod and agree with me. Haha. Most of my friends living in Japan might have seen Riley at Universal Studios in Osaka since he is one of the guys who plays the Terminator in the show and Prince Charming in the parade.

Besides the Kinkaku-ji and garden, there wasn't much to see. What I liked most about this place was that towards the end there was a bunch of souvenir shops that gave our free samples! I was able to try a lot of local food without having to buy it. Score!

strawberry dango
senbei or japanese rice cracker
hard dango covered in sugar - nasty!
plain dango dipped into sesame
chadango or green tea dango
black sesama yatsuhasi
red bean filled yatsuhasi
cherry blossom yatsuhasi
My favorite was the strawberry dango and I wished I had bought some here because I couldn't find them again. :( Yatsuhashi is a famous regional specialty of Kyoto and sold mainly as a souvenir sweet. It was a good thing we got to eat so many of these free samples because it helped tide us over until "lunch" which would happen near 4pm.

The Details
bus map of kyoto

Kinkaku-ji or Temple of the Golden Pavilion
1, Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8361
tel: 075-461-0013
hours: 9:00-17:00
admission fee: 400 yen
website: (japanese only)
directions: catch bus #101 or bus #205 from Kyoto Bus Station (right outside of the Kyoto Train Station) to Kinkakuji-michi Stop

1 comment:

  1. the dango looks yummmy! but what is it made out of? and i love how your friend is in disney as a character and one of my other friend that's in HK is the disney princess! too funny.