Ginkakuji and Kinkakuji Temples in Kyoto are both regarded as must-visit sightseeing spots.
Although these temples were built in the same time period and have similar histories (both were villas of a Shogun, Yoshimitsu (Kinkakuji) and Yoshimasa (Ginkakuji) and were then turned into Zen temples), they look very different. That’s why it is a great idea to visit these two historical temples in one day, to get the full effect of their difference and appreciate their unique atmospheres and aesthetic appeals.
Read “What is The Difference: Kinkakuji & Ginkakuji” for more information.
Here’s what to do:
Both temples are (unfortunately) accessible only by buses and taxis. This means you should be mentally prepared for sharing a bus with many other passengers which is not great, but honestly speaking an unavoidable experience when visiting Kyoto. To avoid the crowded bus ride, the No.1 piece of advice is to wake up early and take the bus early in the morning. Assuming that you will take a bus from Kyoto Station, take City Bus 101, 203 or 205 for Kinkakuji Temple and 5 or 7 for Ginkakuji Temple. Considering that they open at 9:00 (Ginkakuji is open from 8:30 during March to November), you might want to take a bus leaving the (Kyoto) station no later than 8:20 (or 8:00 for Ginkakuji from March to November).
Between these two temples, you will have to take a bus (or a taxi) again. Take either 102 or 204. It will probably be busy, so be prepared. It might take 30 to 45 mins depending on the traffic. If you would rather spend money than your time and energy, then be brave and take a taxi. The fare will be about 2000 – 2500 yen. But it will definitely reduce your stress and time dramatically.
There is a wild card, which is a hop on-off bus, named K-Loop. It is 2300 yen for an adult and 1000 yen for a child, which includes a rental fee for the audio guide. This could be the best choice, since you can travel without stress, and visit many more sightseeing spots such as Nijo Castle, Yasaka Shrine and Shimogamo Shrine. Note that it requires a reservation. This information may be a little outdated because they now have two routes, but for your references please read “Kyoto Hop On Off Bus Report“.
Or if you rather want to read the guidebook on your Kindle e-book reader or application, then get our Kyoto e-Guidebook on Amazon instead.