3 Temples a Day at Kyoto: Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Ninnaji

After my first tiring day, finally I was able to get cozy and had a good sleep at my upper bunk bed at the hostel and woke up to a sunny, beautiful Friday morning. I was extremely happy to feel the warmth of the sun, since yesterday weather was a bit gloomy. After having coffee and slice of bread at the hostel and chatting up with few Japanese ladies who were staying at the dorm room type with me, I made my way to the nearest bus station and looking forward on seeing more of the treasured hundred years old temples and pagodas of Kyoto.

My destination is the northern part of the town to visit three of the temples who are situated closed to each other. I was hoping that today will be less crowded compare to previous day, but the usual buses of kids on school field trip were there but still way less people.

My first stop is one of the most popular temple of Kyoto- Kinkakuji or popularly known as the Golden Pavillion. Retirement villa of the town shogun and built in 1408, as the name implies the top two floors of the pavillion is covered entirely with gold leaf. With the sun shining directly on top of the pavilion, the rich gold color was extremely highlighted as if reminding us how extravagant the lifestyle of aristocrats back then.

Few bus stop away is another former aristocrat villa converted into a Zen temple, built in 1410 and houses Japan’s most famous rock garden- Ryoanji Temple. The actual construction date of the rock formation is not known, let alone the meaning of it, so every visitor is encourage to sit down, relax, stare at the formation and maybe find your personal interpretation of it. But one thing is guaranteed, no matter what your vantage point is, there will be at least one rock always hidden from the viewer. The pond in the middle is quite nice as well particularly when autumn is in full swing.

You can either walk from Ryoanji Temple or maybe take a bus with one stop only towards another World Heritage recognized site of Kyoto- Ninnaji Temple. With most of the halls, gates and pagoda built in 1600, Ninnaji is spacious and requires more time to explore compare to the previous two. Usually, the highlight of the visit is exploring the former residence of the head priest (Goten) but for me it was seeing the magnificent five storey pagoda with branching autumn leaves on the entrance path.

I finished my doze of three temple a day just on time for lunch. The weather was still good and still had plenty of time to explore more about this town. Since the train station to Arashiyama is a mere walking distance from Ninnaji temple, that is where I was heading next.

6 thoughts on “3 Temples a Day at Kyoto: Kinkakuji, Ryoanji, Ninnaji

    1. hi ashleigh,
      should be doable, visit the three temples first then head to arashiyama afterwards..
      but i will highly recommend to spend most of your day at arashiyama, really nice place.
      enjoy your trip 🙂

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