Monday, November 3, 2008

Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion Temple) Kyoto

Ginkaku-ji was built by Shogun Yoshimasa Ashikaga (1435-1490) as a retirement estate. Construction began in the 1460’s and continued in 1474 when Yoshimasa Ashikaga became disappointed in politics. Ashikaga gave full focus to completing the villa along with devoting time to romance, moon gazing and the tea ceremony, which he developed into an art-form.

The Temple was never coated in silver, which was intended to imitate his grandfathers golden temple at Kinkaku-ji. Ashikaga oversaw the construction of a dozen buildings on the estate. The buildings were devoted to cultural pursuits such as incense and the tea ceremony.

Upon the death of Ashikaga in 1490 the estate was converted to a Buddhist Temple. With the decline of the Ashikaga family, Ginkaku-ji fell into decline with many buildings being destroyed.

The only surviving buildings that still stand are Togu-do and the Silver Pavilion. The remaining structures were built in the 17th and 19th centuries.

Ginkaku-ji is located in the foothills of Daimonjiyama. The Philosopher’s Path runs past the front gate.

Path leading to Ginkaku-ji

The Silver Pavilion

Temple Pond

Sand Tower near the Silver Pavilion

The "Sea of Silver Sand"

Small waterfall feeding the Temple Pond

The Silver Pavilion

View from the Temple grounds

The Silver Pavilion

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