The shariden at Rokuon-ji, or the Golden pavilion (Kinkaku -ji) has been destroyed twice, once during the Onin wars and again in 1950 by a monk of the temple who had a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. All that said, it’s still magnificently splediferours in all it’s gold plate. Look closely and you’ll also see the architecture changes floor by floor, from shinden through samurai and finally to zen, not bad for a building that started out life as a retirement villa. The largest island in the lake that surrounds the villa represents Japan, and the whole is surrounded by a magnificent, running out of superlatives here, walk around garden with carefully planned views back over the estate. All very zen. How to get there? Well we took the green Raku tourist bus from Kyoto station*.

*FYI if you’re in Kyoto for a couple of days it’s probably worthwhile getting a Kyoto city bus day pass at Kyoto station.











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