Unlike the brightly decorated temples found in China, most in Japan are fairly sedate, preferring natural wood finishes over ornate red, green and gold motifs. Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) in Kyoto, otherwise known as the Golden Pavilion, is an exception with the majority of its exterior covered in gold leaf.
Set within a classically landscaped garden overlooking a large pond, Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397 and its name is derived from Japanese for gold which is said to purify any negative thoughts and feelings towards death. The Muromachi period, during which it was built, was also one of visual excesses.
A small fishing deck (釣殿 tsuri-dono) is attached to the rear of the pavilion building, allowing a boat to be moored under it. The largest islet in the pond represents the Japanese islands.
It’s an extremely beautiful sight with the sunlight reflecting off the temple onto the surface of the pond. Given its popularity expect crowds.