Ginkaku-Ji: The “Silver” Pavilion

Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavillion) is often associated with the similarly named Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). Kin means gold, and gin means silver. Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was first the retirement villa of a shogun, later converted into a Buddhist temple.

Both have the focus of a beautiful pavilion beside a pond. The similarities stop there.

Ginkaku-Ji:  Silver Doesn’t Mean Second Best

The so-called silver pavilion is not covered in silver. Perhaps as a result, Ginkaku-ji’s gold colored buildings and garden have a greater sense of cohesion.Ginkaku-ji The Silver Pavilion - Up Close

Is It Worth Visiting?

Opening Hours

  • March to November:  8:30-17:00 (8:30am – 5:00pm)
  • December to February:  9:00-16:30 (9:00 am – 4:30pm)

Admission Fees

  • Adults: 500 yen
  • Junior high and elementary school students:  300 yen

How to Get There

To get to Ginkaku-ji from Kyoto-Station, take City bus 5, 17 or 100, a thirty-five to forty minute ride, getting off at Ginkakuji-mae (230 yen each way). The temple is a 5-minute walk away.

Insider’s Tip

Ginkaku-ji is the ending point of another famous Kyoto attraction, the Philosopher’s Walk (Path), named for a professor at Kyoto University who used it for daily meditation.

The 30-minute walk (longer if you explore the temples along the way) meanders along the banks of a canal lined with cherry trees and mossy temples and is especially popular during cherry blossom season.

There are some charming cafes and stores along this route. It is worthwhile combining a visit to Ginkaku-ji with the Philsopher’s Walk, especially in spring or summer.

To approach Ginkakuji via the Philosopher’s Walk, head to Nanzen-ji temple (also worth a visit), a 10-15 minute walk from City Bus-stop Nanzenji-Eikando-michi, served by bus number 5.

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