How to get to Kinkakuji – The Golden Pavilion

Despite two attempts to visit Kinkakuji, Monique and I never did make it to the famed ‘Golden Pavilion.’ If you’d like to ensure that you do make it to this stunning piece of architecture, read on!

Kally + Mon + Kinkakuji = NO

Our first attempt to reach Kinkakuji was directly after our calligraphy lesson at WAK. After doing some research on the interpipes I thought we had to catch the 35 bus from Sanjo-Keihan.

Well, we looked at every goddamn bus stop that was even close to Sanjo-Keihan, and we couldn’t find a ’35 bus.’ Or even a bus that went to Kinkakuji. Both of us were tired and I was started to experience some real pain from my bung ankle that was, unknown to me, developing Achilles tendonitis.


So we decided to return to our Ryokan and visit Kinkakuji early the next day before Maiko Makeover.

Our ‘attempt’ to reach Kinkakuji the next morning was essentially both of us silencing our alarms and rolling over. Exhausted after a huge day on the 11th of April we both overslept. And by overslept I mean ‘didn’t get up at the crack of dawn.’

At the time it was hard to research how to get there. This was because we had major struggles finding wifi, we weren’t at all familiar with the area, and our time in Kyoto was so limited.

Now, back in Perth, having a (deliriously wonderful) ongoing internet connection and time to look over Googlemaps properly, I can see what we were supposed to do.

Travelling to Kinkakuji

If you take a look at this map you’ll see that Kinkakuji is a long way from central Kyoto. The large square represents the area that Monique and I travelled around in Kyoto. The small flag in the top, left-hand corner is Kinkakuji:

kinkakuji the golden pavillion kyoto travel Japan JaPlanning maps

Kinkakuji access map

If you’re not staying in the north-west of Kyoto when you visit, you’ll need to get yourself to the train station that is circled on the map – Kitaoji.

Kitaoji is part of the Karasuma Subway line and there’s multiple buses that will ferry passengers between Kitaoji and Kinkakuji. The buses that go to Kinkakuji are:

Kyoto City Kitaōji Bus Terminal:

  • Bus Platform F for Sembon and Nishioji:
    • Route 101 Raku Bus for Daitoku-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Kitano Tenman-gu, Nijo Castle and Kyoto Station
    • Route 102 Raku Bus for Daitoku-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Kitano Tenman-gu and Ginkaku-ji
    • Route 205 for Daitoku-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Nishinokyo Emmachi, Nishioji Nanajo and Kyoto Station
  • Bus Platform G for Sembon and Nishioji:
    • Route 204 for Kinkaku-ji and Nishinokyo Emmachi via Kitaoji Street

And that’s really all there is to it. No matter where you’re staying in Kyoto (unless you’re already close to the Golden Pavilion) just get yourself to Kitaoji and you’ll be able to find a bus from there.

Next post: Return to Tokyo!

Until next time,

Kally & Mon.


  1. Wikipedia

Image Credits:

[Feature Image Credit: Wanderfly]

Have you visited the Golden Pavillion? Leave us a comment with a link to your (undoubtedly) spectacular pictures. We’d love to check them out!


5 thoughts on “How to get to Kinkakuji – The Golden Pavilion

  1. Pingback: Maiko Makeover and Yasaka Shrine | JaPlanning

  2. Pingback: Tips for visiting Japan – Part III – Kyoto | JaPlanning

  3. Many thanks for your posting, Kally & Mon. Exactly what I need for my trip in March 2014. Can you also please advise how they pay for bus fares in Kyoto – do you have to have exact change or do you pay driver etc?


    • Hi Kim,

      To be honest, we didn’t take many buses while we were in Japan – the only time was when we visited to Ghibli Museum. That bus had an automatic change machine that you threw coins into until you reached the fare and then it gave you the ticket. But, this was a very specific bus *just* for the Ghibli Museum, so other buses might not work like that?

      Alternatively you can get yourself a Suica card (JPN version of an Oyster card or Smartrider) and save yourself the hassle.

      I’m also going back to Japan in March with my bestie! I can’t friggen wait! Where are you headed to while you’re over?

      – Kally

      • Kally, we are visiting Tokyo, Osaska, Nara & Kyoto. First time in Japan, so not sure how challenging the language problems will be. Can’t wait to get there. Thanks for your feedback. Will be doing à bit of research on the internet from now on. Good luck with your trip.

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