Japan Pt.2: Kinkakuji 金阁寺 & A Great Japanese Cuppa

Another day waking up to a beautiful, bright morning. I returned to the safe combo of a jumper dress and pair of over-knee boots. It’s a fast, no-brainier way of dressing up warm and stylish, when you just don’t want to spend too long on deciding what to wear.


It was my third time visiting Kyoto, the first time for 10 days and second time a whole bloody month. And yet I still hadn’t visited one of the most signature sights of Kyoto until this time around: the glorious golden Kinkakuji. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a temple located north of Kyoto city, covered completely in gold leafs, and surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes that complement the temple within the ground.

My morning however, started with a pleasant matcha + Japanese pastry breakfast at the beautiful Zen Kashoin, a real hidden gem modestly located in a completely residential area near the Nijo Castle. It’s a multi-purpose space featuring a cheerful modern cafe, a pastry & tableware shop, a tastefully groomed courtyard garden, and a gallery space, all under the same roof in this traditional house that’s been renovated with a elegantly minimal interior.


We were the only table of customers as we sat down, joined later by just a single customer who ordered a tea, and started typing away on his laptop. Shop like this often is not as well-known to tourists in a city like Kyoto which is packed with (distractions)attractions. But at the same time, it can be maybe just a little too poised for the locals to enjoy a cuppa on a daily basis. However, It’s worked out just perfect for my liking. And if you’re ever looking for a piece of serenity away from the hustle and bustle of attractions hopping & rubbing shoulders with some overly passionate fellow tourists, a tea break at Zen Kashoin is your answer

After food, I couldn’t help wandering into the gallery space at the back, which actually had on a really interesting exhibition at the time. The artworks combined with reflective installations, which extended to the garden outside, working together to let the viewers explore an interactive relationship between the art, the room, nature, and oneself. As you might tell from the pictures, I was very much intrigued. Unfortunately the exhibition lasted only until the day I went. If it sounded interesting to you, the information of the artist can be viewed here.

Leaving Zen Kashoin, finally we headed to Kinkakuji. I’ve read the novel Kinkukuji by Yukio Mishima earlier last year. It’s a story rather different than what I’ve expected. The book rarely talks about the beauty of the temple, but rather it was portrayed as an almost monstrous existence. It was the book that really stirred up my curiosity and desire to finally visit the temple. If you’re planning to visit, or have visited the place already, then I highly recommend you to read the book. It will give a whole new perspective, feeling and depth to Kinkakuji, which is otherwise deemed to be just “beautiful”(not that being absolutely beautiful is not enough, but you get what I mean, hopefully).

Still, the temple is just flawless from every angle, wherever and however you look at it. I went totally click happy with the camera.

They say a good breakfast keeps you in a good mood for the whole day(someone must have said something like that no?). I definitely agree. I for one stayed chuffed as can be all the way through to the sunset.