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Kodaiji and Ginkakuji

Hi! I hope you have a great week. I have another post to share this week. Still in Kyoto, but this time I’ll introduce some places at Eastern Kyoto: Kodaiji and Ginkakuji. Both of these temples are famous for tourist and have several similarities. Kodaiji is located around Higashiyama district, which is one of Kyoto’s most preserve historical district. This area is full of cafe, restaurants and shops selling local specialty. Therefore tourist always come to this area.

First Stop: Kodaiji 高台寺

I recently play a lot of game related with samurai and Japanese history and that’s the reason why I really want to visit Kodaiji. There was once a really famous samurai in Japan, called Toyotomi Hideyoshi and when he passed away, his wife (Nene) built a temple for him (isn’t she the loveliest wife ever?)

Kodaiji is a part of Higashiyama district and you can get here by bus. I recommend you to get the one day bus ticket when you’re traveling in Kyoto. The one day pass only cost you around 600¥ and you can buy it at Kyoto station.

Kodaiji temple is a Buddist temple. The temple complex are quite big and you can find 2 beautiful garden inside the complex. If you go follow the route, when you enter the complex, you’ll find the first beautiful Zen Garden.

Next to this garden is the main building of the temple (Hojo) and you can find another garden at the other side of the building. So the main building is in between 2 gardens. The other garden feels a bit more modern and modest in design. There’s a pond in the garden.

Once you passed this garden, there’s a path that will lead you uphill. There you’ll find several tea houses and you’ll get a better view of the entire temple complex too. One of the tea houses was designed by Sen no Rikyu, a famous tea ceremony practitioner during Hideyoshi era.

From the hill, you’ll follow the bamboo path that will lead you back to the garden. Actually next to Kodaiji, you can also find Entokuin temple, which is the sub-temple of Kodaiji. The entrance fee for Kodaiji is 600¥, however you’ll get a cheaper price if you opt to go to Kodaiji, Entokuin, and Sho Museum (this Museum exhibits Nene’s lacquer).

I recommend you to go here if you like to learn about the history and also because the garden is exceptionally beautiful in autumn.

And because Higashiyama is a famous district, it’s not hard for you to find place to rest and eat. I went to a sushi restaurant near Kodaiji. It was a course menu so the price is a bit expensive, but the food was really good.

Second stop: Ginkakuji 銀閣寺

From Kodaiji, I took another bus and stop around Shinyodo. From there I walked along the Philosopher’s path up to Ginkakuji. I’ll write about Shinyodo and Philosopher’s path next time and skip to Ginkakuji because it has some similarity with Kodaiji. Don’t mixed up between Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji because they’re located at opposite direction.

Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion) used to be a retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimasa but then was converted into a Zen (Buddhist) temple after his death. Now the complex consists of temple building, a dry sand garden, most garden, and ponds.

When you get inside the complex, the dry sand garden will catch your attention the most. This sand garden is called “Sea of Silver Sand”, and in the middle of the garden you can find a massive sand cone named “Moon Viewing Platform”. Next to the sand garden are the 2 temple buildings: Hondo (main hall) and Togudo.

Follow the walking path and you can find the moss garden in between bridges and ponds. The path will lead you to a hill behind the building when you can get a better view of the entire temple complex and also Kyoto city.

The entrance fee to the temple is 500¥ and the temple opens until 17:00. You can go here by the bus or you can walk along the Philosopher’s path. I recommend the walking path because you can see a lot of stores and pretty cafe.

Kodaiji and Ginkakuji

Those all the places I want to introduce this time. I still have some photos from Shinyodo and Philosopher’s path, which I’m going to post next time.

Here are some good and bad thing about this place:

  • Good:
    • Tourist friendly (has English translation at several part)
    • Easy access
    • Easy to find restaurant, cafe, etc.
    • Both places have beautiful Zen garden and fall foliage
  • Bad:
    • If you want to hike to the top, there’re a lot of steps lol (I don’t mind this one, so it’s actually not that bad for me)
    • Full of tourist

I’d recommend you plan your visit well, because these two places are in the East in Kyoto. You might want to combine with another places in East Kyoto so you won’t waste your time.

See you on the next post, and as usual, your comments are always loved!

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