Only a 2 minute walk to the historical Ginkakuji temple at the base of the eastern (Higashiyama) mountain, and 1 minute from the scenic Path of Philosophy, Ginkaku-An is located about 35 minutes by bus from Kyoto station. Just in from the main approach to Ginkakuji, the location is very quiet, and one can truly feel the beauty of the changing seasons there.
The great appeal of Ginkaku-An is not only the warmth, clean at-home quality, and privacy of its facilities, but its superior location. From here, you have easy access to the most well-know and charming spots in Kyoto, from Ginkakuji temple itself just up the hill, to the walking course provided by the Path of Philosophy, famous for its spectacular cherry blossoms in the spring, and changing leaves in the fall.
Walking south along the Path of Philosophy, you will come across famous sites and Zen temples of Kyoto one after the next, from Honen-In, to Eikan-Do with its magnificent fall leaves, to the Zen temple of Nanzen-ji, famous in Japanese literature. Climbing its great gate, you will have a panoramic view of the city, the temple itself is famous for its Zen garden, and where you can sample Japanese green tea, and there is also aqueduct, which is the starting place for the canal that becomes the Path of Philosophy (the water actually is brought from Lake Biwa). The adjacent tofu restaurants are also a must for any Japanese or foreign visitor.
Also from Ginkaku-An, heading back in the direction of the city, it is a short bus ride (although walkable) to Heian Shrine, for a real taste of ancient Kyoto, and the adjacent museums which include the Kyoto National Museum, which holds many traditional and international exhibits, and the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art just across the street.
A bus ride north from Ginkaku-An will take you up the mountain of Hiei to the ancient Buddhist temple of Enryakuji, one of the oldest in Japan that has produced many of the great Buddhist and Zen masters. Not to mention, the view of Lake Biwa and the majestic trees are a sight to see. From there, you can even take a cable car down the other side of the mountain to Miidera in Sakamoto, all of this accomplishable in one day.
Using the convenient one-day bus pass (500 yen for the whole day) available from Kyoto city, please enjoy sightseeing in Kyoto to your heart's content. It is about 4 minutes from Ginkaku-An to the closest bus stop, where many different buses going to different locations around the city pass through. The taxi stand is only 3 minutes away, and the taxis run late into the night.
Along the main approach to Ginkakuji temple, you can enjoy shopping for all types of souvenirs, including the performance of the sale of the famous ''Yatsuhashi'' (a triangular-shaped gummy rice cake with sweet bean paste in it), and many quaint coffee shops. Nearby, there are a number of restaurants serving Japanese, Chinese, and Western-style foods, and two supermarkets. The bank and post office are less than ten minutes (on foot) away.
Although of course there is a bath at Ginkaku-An, you can also try the nearby Japanese public bath for a small charge. By bus or train, within one hour you can have the full Japanese hot spring experience at either Arashiyama Hot Springs or Kurama Hot Springs, and about 15 minutes away you can go to the Kita Shirakawa Rajumu Hot Springs.
At Ginkaku-An, on the second floor there is a study with a bed, so you can take your time to relax, write, paint, or do other types of creative activities. We also have both ADSL and Wi-Fi Internet connection.
I make a habit to walk with my two dogs (mini dachshunds, male) everyday, along the 'Path of Philosophy'. I heard one day a tourist say 'If my home were around here…,' so I resigned my last job last spring in 2007, as a long-time office worker. I took an empty house and remodeled it into and opened Ginkaku-An.
Fumiko Asada purchased this house in 2000
This machiya was a very authentic way to experience Kyoto for a week. We were two women, one who was working on the computer and phone in the house during California hours while touring on the off hours. It is a sweet way to live while in Kyoto. It is very clean. I loved smelling the blossoming Jasmine flowers in the yard everyday!!! The location of the machiya was very enjoyable for us.
Stayed here with family of 4 (2 adults & 2 teenagers) for 1 + 3 weeks. House is located in a very, very quiet neighborhood close to Ginkaku-ji. The owner lives next door and makes every effort to make stay comfortable. I recommend to rent bicycles from owner, it's fun and convenient as grocery stores, city center and many temples can be reached in 2 to 20 minutes. House is well equipped and very clean. All installations come with English language explanation leaflets. A very Japanese yet easy-to-use experience. Owner very friendly and easy to work with, communication before and during the stay easy in English. Would certainly stay here again.
Fumiko's house is very comfortable and is well located (bus station within 5 min walk). We stayed with our 16- months-old baby and it was very convenient. The house is beautiful and very clean with everything you need. Fumiko is very helpful and makes every effort to make herself understand in english. We enjoyed our stay and recommend it for a pleasent journey in japanese style in Kyoto.
Thanks to Asada-san and her husband for letting us stay at Ginkaku-an! It was very welcoming and wonderfully appointed. It was also very quiet yet close enough to the main public lines to make an excellent base for travelling and touring Kyoto. Even though, when we went it was still monsoon season, there was still plenty to see and do. She has thought of even the smallest details to make our stay very comfortable. From the umbrellas and slippers in the front, to the maps and guide books it seemed everything was though out very carefully.
My mom and I both enjoyed our spacious living area with me living upstairs and her living on the ground floor. We also appreciated her help with sending our luggage out by Tak Q Bin, we didn;t have to worry one bit ! She was always there next door, if we had any questions. We hope to come back soon to stay again or maybe try out your other property.
Also thanks so much for a copy of your book, I hope you wil enjoy my mother's books as well!
Michie and Lisa
Asada-san's house, Ginkaku-an, is very comfortable and clean and we had a very enjoyable stay in Kyoto because of this. She was helpful with everything and had prepared all the information on moving around the city and sightseeing that we could ever hope for. The house was warm and cosy. We were in Kyoto during the busiest time of the autumn so we had some issues getting from the restaurant area later at night, but this would not normally be a problem. We found a lovely little breakfast place just down the street though. Very pleasant. Thank you.
We stayed at Ginkaku-an this spring and it is a beautiful and very comfortable home. The kitchen is well stocked, the bath is beautiful and the location is ideal: a nice quiet back street. The house is EXTREMELY clean. I would recommend this property to a friend but perhaps NOT with kids. My only complaint was that most owners of VRBO homes either do not charge for children or charge half price. Because each one of us was charged a full rate (plus utilities); it was not the most affordable of our options in Kyoto. We hope the business savvy owner will review that policy in the future and then we would give this house an Excellent rating.
Tea ceremony is available around here.