The Golden Temple in Western Kyoto is one of the most frequently visited sites in the city. It is beautiful and I'm glad I had the chance to see it again (I was here before as a young child) but I prefer the smaller, less touristy temples where one can sit and contemplate the simple beauty of Sakura falling into a pond or a tiny, freshly raked rock garden.
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The Golden Pavillion at Kinkaku-ji Temple. The iconic image of Kyoto.
The Golden Pavilion is the must-see attraction in the one city that truly gives a foreign visitor deep appreciation for Japanese culture and tradition. You will feel it here whether or not you were looking for it.
One of my favorite memories of Japan is Kyoto in the fall.
Sipping matcha (powdered green tea) and eating sweet red bean paste desserts beneath ruby umbrellas and auburn foliage next to Kyoto's Golden Pavilion is one of those moments when the Japan you imagine comes to life.
It was mid-afternoon and at almost freezing temperature, we started roaming Kyoto. I have always read about Kinkaku-ji so my sister and our friends decided to visit the temple which is one of the most popular buildings in Japan attracting a large number of visitors annually. This attracted me as the top two floors are actually covered with pure gold leaf.
Temples in Japan have these ladles everywhere for rinsing your hands and mouth before entering the temple. I found this one inside at a little stream, so I figured a second round of rinsing wouldn't hurt.
Just an easy bus ride through Kyoto will find you at the Kikaku-ji temple, commonly referred to as The Golden Pavilion. As this temple is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, expect a lot of fellow gawkers. Still, not a site to be missed. This building exemplifies several different Japanese architecture styles and has actual gold leaf lining its walls. The gardens are beautifully manicured and serene despite the abundance of selfie sticks.