Kinkakuji Cho – the golden temple and Nishiki market (Kyoto)
The golden temple – kinkakuji Cho was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai (北山第), belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionji family by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. Today it is the most visited place in Kyoto.
I must admin that even ifnthe place is very nice, we were very disappointed from it. First, a sharp eye would notice that the place was reconstructed, and it almost looks like it was spray painted with gold like colour. If you notice, the gutters are modern and do not fit with historical Japanease constructions.
The place was packed of noisy tourists and it looks like it was designed as a tourists trap: with an ice cream shop in the end, a gift shop in the gardens etc. I would alsmost recommend to spare it if you are tight with time when you visit Kyoto. The gardens were nice though, a state of art which fits with the Japanease spirit,yet we saw nicer and bigger gardens in our Kyoto visit.
a gift shop beside the golden temple
We were so disappointed from the place that we decided to take a bus to Gion, which we liked when we got there a couple of days before. While taking the bus we noticed a nice area and got off the bus before Gion to discover the Nishiki market and surrounding streets – a paradise for shoppers! The market itself suggests lots of unique shops, herbs, Japanease pickles, locally made sweets, unique food items, cakes, restaurants, art… all what one could imagine, trully a place that one must visit. The colours, sounds, smells and tastes are just spectacular!