The origin of the name

UNESCO World Heritage

temple of golden pavilion

The origin of the name Kinkakuji(金閣寺)

Common Name:


漢字(Kanji)Chinese Charater金閣寺

Official Name:


漢字(Kanji)Chinese Character鹿苑寺

Official English Web Site

金閣 舎利殿

Literally means.  Gold – Multi-story building – Temple. 
金(きん,Kin) = gold,
閣(かく, Kaku) = Multi-story building, specially where aristocrat live.
寺(じ, Ji) = temple – building dedicated to the worship of the buddhist.

However, Kinkakuji translated as the Temple of Golden Pavilion, not Golden Temple.  Why?

方丈 Hojo

The main hall for this Zen temple is 方丈(Hojo)located on the right side of golden hall.

The golden three story hall is 舎利殿(Shariden), which is a  Buddist hall containing relics of Buddha. And now this golden hall is used as exhibition only.

And official name is 鹿苑寺 ろくおんじ(Rokuon-ji). People just call “Kinkakuji” not “Rokuon-ji”, because the Golden Hall(Kinkaku) is so popular, well known, that people just nicknamed it as “Kinkakuji”.

The name, Rokuonji come from the founder of the temple, the 3rd Ashikaga Shogun, Yoshimitsu’s posthumous name, 鹿苑院ろくおんいん(Roku-on-in).

  • The 3rd Ashikaga Shogun, when he retired, gave shogun title to his son, he became to be monk and normally with buddhism, when you will get the new Buddhism name after you died. his posthumous name is “Roku-on-in”.

After Yoshimitsu’s death, this temple premises become the Zen Temple named as 鹿苑寺 ろくおんじ(Roku-on-ji).

鹿苑(Roku-on) is the holy land of the Buddhist, where the Buddha was spiritually enligntened, and started to preach people.



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