It snowed in Kyoto on the last day of 2014, but I remember another snowy New Year. That was the day I went to Honkokuji beside Biwako Canal, and found scenery that took my breath away. To reach Honkokuji you must cross the red bridge over Biwako Canal and walk along the road until you reach the first red gate. Then there is a second gate of unpainted wood with guardian statues on either side. The temple was still quite new back in 2010. The wood was un-weathered, and the gate guardians, the dragon and the small torii were all gleaming gold. It was all extremely beautiful!
If you'd like to see this temple in autumn, there is a photo story here.