A Shimmering Journey to Kinkaku-ji: Japan’s Golden Pavilion

Welcome to our family travel blog, where we share our adventures from around the world! Today, we’re taking you on a virtual journey to Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion, a stunning temple in Kyoto, Japan. Join us as we explore the history, beauty, and serenity of this iconic destination that left us in awe.

Getting to Kinkaku-ji:

Our adventure began with a train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto, a city known for its rich cultural heritage. From Kyoto Station, we hopped on a bus that took us to Kinkaku-ji. The journey through Kyoto’s scenic streets provided a glimpse into the city’s traditional architecture and charming neighborhoods.

History of Kinkaku-ji:

Kinkaku-ji, or the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, was originally built in the 14th century by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, a shogun and devout Zen Buddhist. The temple complex features three distinct architectural styles on each floor, representing different periods of Japanese history. The top two floors are covered in brilliant gold leaf, creating a breathtaking spectacle that shimmers in the sunlight.

Exploring the Grounds:

As we entered the temple grounds, we were greeted by a peaceful pond, known as Kyoko-chi, which beautifully reflects the Golden Pavilion. The surrounding gardens are meticulously maintained and offer a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for meditation and contemplation.

Ryōan-ji Zen Garden:

After admiring the Golden Pavilion, we took a short walk to the nearby Ryōan-ji Zen Garden. This minimalist rock garden is famous for its 15 carefully placed rocks, set amidst raked white gravel. It’s a place where you can sit quietly and find inner peace while contemplating the arrangement of stones and the surrounding nature.

Tea and Souvenirs:

No visit to a Japanese temple would be complete without trying matcha tea. We enjoyed a traditional tea ceremony in a charming teahouse near Kinkaku-ji. Don’t forget to browse the souvenir shops for unique gifts like postcards, incense, and beautiful handmade crafts to remember your visit by.

Tips for Visiting Kinkaku-ji with Kids:

  • If you’re traveling with children, consider bringing some snacks and water, as the visit can be quite long.
  • Encourage your kids to participate in the tea ceremony to experience Japanese culture firsthand.
  • Capture the moments with your camera, but also take time to put it away and truly immerse yourself in the serenity of the surroundings.


Our visit to Kinkaku-ji was a remarkable experience that allowed us to connect with Japan’s rich history and culture. The Golden Pavilion’s majestic beauty, combined with the peacefulness of the gardens, made it a highlight of our trip to Kyoto. We hope our journey has inspired you to explore this incredible destination and create your own unforgettable memories at Kinkaku-ji. Until next time, happy travels!