If you arrive in the mid-morning you will probably find bus-loads of school children visiting Kyoto. I arrived in the late morning the second day, and found the crowds substantially less. Excellent photography is possible even with the crowds, since the two main spots to photograph the pavilion present an a across the pond and therefore unadulterated with tourists. During rush hours you may need to wait for the groups of school girls to finish taking pictures of themselves for a few minutes, but it is very doable.
The view of the pavilion faces north (i.e. the pavilion faces south), so afternoon is probably the best time to photograph, but morning worked ok for me. Cloudy days will reduce the shadows from the eves (hence my return the second day).
Kinkakuji is reachable by the Kyoto sightseeing bus, but not by train. It is about a 10 - 15 minute walk from Ryouanji, but I would not recommend walking from another location. It is about a 30 minute bicycle ride from SandalWood and the Hankyu Saiin station.
Kinkakuji’s web site has some decently sized images, some additional images, and a webcam image. Keep in mind that Japan is about 12 hours ahead of the U.S.; the webcam will be most interesting in the evening...