Literally the ‘temple of the golden pavilion’, this stunning gold-covered building is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Japan and is a popular Kyoto symbol.

Kinkakuji dates from 1397 when a shogun bought the villa from the previous owners and converted it to the complex you see today.

In 1950, the pavilion was destroyed by fire when a novice monk set it ablaze and then tried to commit suicide. Although the monk survived, his mother threw herself in front of a train in shame.

Other Kyoto Attractions