Bucket list: Golden Pavilion

Today I’m going to introduce yet another Wanderlust Wednesday place based in Japan. This golden pavilion is mainly on my must recommended bucket list attractions because of its photogenic looks but also because of the amazing experience I had visiting there. Kinkakuji aka Golden Pavilion is one of those places you shouldn’t miss when visiting Kyoto!

So let me make sure you will fall in love with Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion and add it to your Japan bucket list! It may seem too expensive to visit and there isn’t a lot of things to see. However, if you want to brag in social media using amazing photos from your Japan trip this golden temple is the must place to go in Kyoto. The selfies and photos you can take when visiting Kyoto’s Kinkakuji are just simply breathtaking.

Golden temple autumn Kyoto

Golden Pavilion

Other Names: Kinkakuji

Where? Kyoto, Japan

How to get there? Direct buses leave from Kyoto Station

When to go? I think the prettiest time of the year to visit Kinkakuji is when there are autumn leaves. However, this Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion is worth to see all year round. Kinkakuji is open from 9AM to 5PM. Go early so you have enough time to get charmed by Japan’s golden wonder.

How much does it cost? 400 yen

Why should you add Kinkakuji to your Japan bucket list?

Like I mentioned already Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple is the right place to take your best travel shots. Or well probably just that one photo with you standing in front of the water and golden building. Finding Instagram photos spots in Kyoto won’t be hard but Kinkakuji is definitely one of the best photo spots. If you are lucky there are no photobombing tourists next to you.

I could keep making fun of the Golden Pavilion because of the insane amount of tourists visiting there. However, Kyoto’s Kinkakuji did impress me. I would not recommend it as a thing to add on your Japan bucket list if it was just for that one selfie. I have to admit that I had never seen anything quite like Kinkakuji. Beautiful gold pavilion. Isn’t that enough of reason to visit this Kyoto’s tourist hot spot?


My Visit to See Kinkakuji in Kyoto

I had some challenges trying to find the entrance. There was huge construction site between the bus stop and line for Kinkakuji. Finally, I found the right place following group of students. The closer I got the more students I saw. Apparently, there was field trip going on.

I walked confidently to buy my ticket, saw how much it costs and ran away in panic. 400 yen to see one building. Why would anyone pay that much? With that money, I would pay dinner of the day. I didn’t know what to do so I kept walking back and forth among the students.


In the end, I decided it was just money and walked again confidently to buy my ticket to Kinkakuji and went through the entrance. There was a lot of tourists and I was starting to regret my decision. Until I saw the Golden Pavilion. How can one building be so beautiful?

I took some photos and probably appear in dozen holiday photos others have taken. It was crowded in the perfect photo spot and guards were making sure no one stood on the walking path but rather in the photography area. That one not so perfect selfie with Kinkakuji was quickly taken and I walked ahead.

There was some other buildings and things to see but nothing would be worthy of mention after seeing the main sight. In the end, there was some small shops (and a lot of free food samples…)

The other things to see in the area were nothing when compared with the golden building.

It was a hot day so after exiting the park I bought ice cream from vending machine. I had just eaten it and decided to leave when a group of students (probably under ten years old but I’m really bad at guessing ages) approached me. Behind them stood their teacher who smiled warmly at me.

“Hello, can we ask questions from you?” one of the students finally dared to ask me. Their teacher explained that they were English language students and had this mission to ask one tourist things about them. Of course, I agreed.


They asked shyly about my name, nationality and other things. I gave Moomin pins for them because I used to always carry them with me in the case I met someone special. After they had asked all the questions I, of course, got sticker decorated business cards from them. So Japanese and extremely cute that I had to keep myself from laughing.

It was a fun experience and I got really surprised how good English they spoke. Perfect ending for my Kinkakuji visit.

My second time visiting Kyoto’s Kinkakuji

After visiting Kyoto for the first time in 2015 I couldn’t get this beautiful city out of my head. It wasn’t surprising for anyone when I decided to return to Japan for the second trip in 2018. The only difference was that this time my cousin and sister were sticking along because apparently, my stories of Japan, Kyoto, and Kinkakuji had made them curious.

And so we ended up visiting the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto for their first time and for my second. Let me tell you that even after seeing it already once the charm of Kyoto’s Kinkakuji hadn’t faded. Would I pay for the ticket again? Yes, probably. Visiting Kinkakuji won’t take a lot of time out of your day in Kyoto but at the same time, it’s one of those places everyone should add on their Japan bucket lists or must to do things in Kyoto.

I even learned new things this time around! When you walk the path through Kinkakuji garden there are these “cups” and statues where people throw money for good luck. Definitely must to do when visiting Kinkakuji, however, it’s not as easy as it sounds.

Like always feel free to comment below your thoughts. What are some of your favorite destinations on your Japan bucket list? Or maybe Kinkakuji in Kyoto is one of them?

Wanderlust Wednesday: Kinkakuji/Golden Pavilion
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Have wonderful adventures!
Lost Viivi


13 thoughts on “Bucket list: Golden Pavilion

  1. It is an amazing place to visit and your pictures definitely do it justice. We’ve been to Kyoto 4 times now, we visited Kinkajuji the first time we went and never had the urge to rush back. I would definitely recommend the Inari shrine, the Arashiyama bamboo forest and Otagi Nenbutaiji.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree with you that Kinkakuji really is just one time thing. Even if I now went to Japan I would not visit there again. It’s beautiful and amazing but not worth of paying again the entrance fee.


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