Kinkakuji is a Zen Buddhist temple and World Heritage Site in northern Kyoto first built in 1397.
The temple is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, and has been designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape. It is one of 17 locations making up the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which together are a World Heritage Site. [source]
The original temple was completed in 1397 although is has burned down numerous times throughout its history, including twice during the Onin War (a civil war that destroyed much of Kyoto) and once again more recently in 1950 when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955. [source]
Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station by Kyoto City Bus # 101 or 205 in about 40 minutes and for 230 yen. Alternatively, it can be faster and more reliable to take the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station (15 minutes, 260 yen) and take a taxi (10 minutes, 1000-1200 yen) or bus (10 minutes, 230 yen, bus numbers 101, 102, 204 or 205) from there to Kinkakuji. It is open year round from 9am – 5pm and costs 400 yen to enter. [source]