I’m sure a lot of you know how much I love the color gold, so imagine my happiness when I saw an entire structure covered in gold! Presenting, Kyoto’s Kinkakuji–a Zen Buddhist temple covered in brilliant gold leaf. Originally, Kinkakuji was built in 1397 as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It was only converted into a temple according to his will after his death. Although it’s the only building left of the former retirement complex, it’s actually not the original structure from the 14th century. The original one was set ablaze by a young fanatic monk so a full reconstruction was done in 1955, incorporating more gold on the lower floors. The result? A shimmering gold pavilion set against the beautiful backdrop of nature while overlooking a large clear pond– with it’s gold reflection on the pond’s surface wowing visitors even more.
Kinkakuji was actually supposed to be our last stop in Kyoto before we go back to Osaka. But since we finished early, we decided to check out Maruyama-koen Park before leaving for the train station. We might as well make the most out of our day, right? According to my sister’s research, this park has the best cherry blooms during sakura season. It becomes Kyoto’s most popular and most crowded spot for cherry blossom viewing parties (hanami) so we had high expectations. Unfortunately though, we didn’t get to see as much when we visited but there were still a lot of locals picnicking and drinking in the park. (For your reference, this was probably around April 11-12.) It’s a pity we didn’t catch it on its peak season. I can just imagine how the cherry blossoms must’ve looked like if we did. Oh well, hopefully there’ll be a next time.