Kyoto has to offer many great temples and shrines and also other beautiful places where you can enjoy the old Japan. Two of these places are the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji). Many visitors to Kyoto often do not have much time. Therefore, they often have to decide for a few places they want to visit. The Ginkakuji is one of the number one destinations in Kyoto. With it´s beautiful golden shiny color it attracts tourists around the world. It´s brother the Ginkakuji is less popular, even it is also a very great place to visit.
Let´s take a look at both places and compare their good and bad sides:
Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion):Kinkakuji at the northwest part of Kyoto and can be easily reached by Kyoto City Bus or Karasuma Subway Line from Kyoto Station. The Golden Pavilion is a Zen temple which is completely covered in gold leaf surrounded by a small garden. Usually the temple was the villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, but when he died it became a Zen temple. The temple was burned down very often during the war and a fire-raising. The present temple was rebuilt in 1955.
Surrounded by a large lake, the Kyokochi pond, the Kinkakuji shows his beauty the best on sunny days, when the sun reflects in the golden walls of the temple. The Garden around the lake is full of beautiful pine trees, which fit perfectly into the atmosphere. There is also a small tea house, where you can enjoy a cup of green tea and some Japanese sweets.Accordingly, the garden and temple should illustrate the Buddhist worldview, blend into the natural environment as seamlessly and smoothly as possible, reflecting a harmonious relationship between nature and man.
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 h (no closing days)
Entrance fee: 400 Yen
Best time to visit: Every season is good to visit the temple, but going early in the morning is the best to have the golden sun reflection.
Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion):The Ginkakuji can be found northeast of Kyoto. You can reach the temple by Kyoto City Bus from Kyoto Station. Alternatively the temple is part of the popular Philosopher´s Path and can be easily reached on foot from Nanzenji. Ginkakuji is a Buddhist temple of Rinzai-shū, which was built in 1482 by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa as a retirement home. The Hall of Kannon is the symbol of Ginkaku-ji and is usually called Ginkaku "Silver Pavilion". The temple area has a few other temple buildings beside the Silver Pavilion, a beautiful Japanese style garden and a unique dry sand garden. The Garden area is perfect for a walk and to enjoy a beautiful view from the small hill over Kyoto, which belongs to the temple area.
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 17:00 h (no closing days)
Entrance fee: 500 Yen
Best time to visit: From Lunchtime to the afternoon is the perfect time to visit the Garden.
Even so the Golden Pavilion is more popular, I recommend the Silver Pavilion with it´s beautiful unique Japanese Garden (especially the sand art is great) and the beautiful view over Kyoto.