To enter the inner part of the temple complex with the best views of the pagoda is 600 yen. If you want the absolute best camera shots, then the ticket is worth it. Otherwise, there are a lot of good views of the pagoda from outside.
I visited on a Saturday and there was a huge flea market going on.... the selection of handicrafts, second hand clothes, and food was amazing. It is so large it spills out onto the neighboring streets. It is, of course, crowded... but if you are looking for the unusual items to take back with you to remember Kyoto, the selection here far surpasses anything from any of the usual souvenir shops.
There was also a LOT of religious activity going on in the temple ... there is definitely a lot to see.
Considering it's a 10-15 min walk from Kyoto Station, it's quite easy to get to.
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