In photos: Kyoto’s Kinkakuji Temple reveals its new look after a four-month renovation

The iconic golden pavilion looks better than ever with a new roof and fresh gold leaf

Youka Nagase
Written by
Youka Nagase
Editorial Assistant, Time Out Tokyo
Photo: Ifan Nuriyana on Unsplash

While low tourist numbers have taken a toll on some Tokyo landmarks, Kyoto’s famous Kinkakuji Temple took the opportunity to for a full renovation. Work was completed in the last week of December, so the Temple of the Golden Pavilion was ready to greet the new year with a new look.

Kinkakuji gets renovated roughly every 20 years and, since the temple saw just 10 percent of its usual number of visitors in 2020, it was the best time to plan some maintenance work. Construction started on September 1 2020, about 18 years since Kinkakuji’s last renovation. 

About 100,000 tiles on the 320sqm roof were replaced with new ones, and many areas near the top of the building where the brilliant gold leaf peeled off over time have also been patched up with fresh kinpaku gold coating.

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Although visiting the new and improved Kinkakuji might be tough right now, we’re glad we can enjoy its new lustre in these photos.

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