My First Touristy Experience in Kyoto: Yoshida Shrine and The Golden Pavilion

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That day I and Wina were at campus after our class. It was my second or third week in Japan, and we were eager to explore some places in Kyoto - we are in a touristy city, why not act like a tourist sometimes? Thus, that afternoon, we visited Yoshida Shrine and Kinkaku-ji. I can’t say the first one is a touristy place, but since it is the closest shrine to our campus, we decided to take a look for a while.

Yoshida Shrine


Yoshida Shrine is built on a ‘mountain', so there were a lot of stairs and trees. Don’t think that you finish when you arrive in the main shrine, because the shrine itself is built surrounding the mountain. There are gates lining up on the east side of the hill, which is very beautiful in spring - surrounded by sakura trees. There are also one small shrine (?) or praying space on the top of the hill, and other smaller shrines on the west part of the hill. 


For people who wants to experience an off-the-beaten-path place to refresh your mind, I think having a walk around Yoshida Shrine is one of a good way to do. It’s a light hiking, but since the shrine is surrounded by a ‘forest’, you can hear the sound of nature and feel like escaping from the crowds for a moment.


Details
Yoshida Shrine
Opening Hours: All day
Fees: Free
Transportation:
-Kyoto City Bus 203, 201, 206, 17, 102.
-Nearest station: Demachiyanagi Station (Keihan Line & Eizan Line)
Location:


Kinkaku-ji
Our next destination is Kinkaku-ji. This place is probably one of the most famous tourist attraction in Kyoto. Since we brought our bicycle to campus and Kinkaku-ji is in the same direction with our way home, we decided to ride our bicycle to the temple ( If you have no gear on your bicycle and you are not really into sports, I won’t suggest you do something like this…). We finally arrived after cycling for 30-45 minutes. Unlike Yoshida Shrine who has no admission fee, Kinkaku-ji has an admission fee for 400yen per person. 

When entering the area, I was welcomed by a Japanese garden. Then, I saw that golden pavilion everyone had been posting. Surrounded by a small lake and lit by almost-sunset light, the temple looked beautiful. One might enjoy its beauty by sitting and watching from afar - if only there were not many tourists doing selfie around. Well, it’s a touristy place after all. What did you expect? I and Wina decided to do the same then.




After seeing the pavilion, we walked around, following the path. Other than the golden pavilion, they have some other halls and small waterfall. They also have a place where you can pray and throw coins - I and Wina tried our luck, and failed.
Wina, tried her luck and failed.
Finished walking, we saw an oracle in English - and I tried my luck. It costs 100 yen for an oracle. Luckily it said I had a very good fortune! Although I couldn’t really relate to anything that it said regarding my life hahaha. It was only for fun, after all.
Me and a good fortune oracle.
Aaand that’s all my one day trip. There are some lessons learned I want to share you: first, do browsing about the place before. I found out that Yoshida Shrine has the east gate with sakura blooming a year later - and apparently the ‘mountain’ also has a unique cafe on the top, named Mo-an. Second, if you are living in Kyoto, it’s better to not visit Kinkaku-ji by yourself. Because at some point, you will have friends coming from your country or from other Japanese cities, and they will request you to accompany them to this famous touristy place. So, do save Kinkaku-ji for those time when you have a guest coming. But for a regular tourist, it's not really bad to visit this place. Not a really adventurous temple, but well, worth to visit at least once.

Details
Kinkaku-ji
Opening Hours: Everyday, 9:00 - 17:00
Fees: 400yen
Transportation:
-Kyoto City Bus 12, 59, 101, 102, 204, 205
-Nearest station: Kitaoji Station (Karasuma Line)
Location:


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