Kinkaku-ji Temple (the Golden Pavilion)

What is it?: A Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf.

Why should you go?: Kyoto’s most impressive sight.[link] It is designated as a National Special Historic Site, a National Special Landscape and is one of 17 locations making up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which are World Heritage Sites. It is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kyoto…Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see.[link]

When should you go?: Just after it opens, just after it closes and, if possible on a Monday morning. Whatever you do, avoid the place on holidays, when it will simply be too busy to enjoy.[link]

Kinkakuji is beautiful throughout the year, but particularly so after snowfall and in the autumn with the leaves turning red.[link]

Opening hours:
9am-5pm / open all year round

Who recommends it?:

UNESCO, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, National Geographic

How much is it?: ¥400 for adults / ¥300 for children (currency converter)

Where is it?:

English address:
1 Kinkaku-ji-cho, Kita-ku

Japanese address:
北区金閣寺町1

Web address:
www.shokoku-ji.jp/top.php

 

STAY AT GRIDS NIHOMBASHI EAST HOTEL + HOSTEL

A hotel and hostel in Chuo City, Tokyo, Japan.

WHY A HOSTEL?

  • In Japan, they are well designed, comfortable, and clean. (source)

  • They are the most affordable lodging option. (source)

  • They have very helpful staff and great amenities. (source)

WHY THIS HOSTEL?

  • It’s got great reviews across the web and is included in The Culture Trip's '14 Best Hostels in Tokyo' article. (source

  • It gives us a private room which we can lock (also includes a private toilet). (source)

  • It was not the first choice but the best option based on availability.

 

COFFEE AT UNLIMITED COFFEE BAR

A cafe and barista training center that is dedicated to improving coffee in Japan and cultivating professional baristas.

WHY GO HERE?

  • Started by married couple Daichi Matsubara (a World Barista Championship judge since 2011) and Rena Hirai (a Japan Barista Championship judge for more than 10 years), for the purpose of improving the quality of coffee in Japan and training baristas to be dedicated to service and lifelong learning.

  • They are involved in all areas of coffee development—roasting, training, brewing—to better understand and improve them at the customer’s first point of contact: the barista. (source)

  • Each cup brewed is like a mini-presentation by baristas who regularly compete in domestic competitions. Kota Sato (one of their baristas) most recently took first place in the 2016 Japan Hand Drip Championship. (source)