Temple of the Silver Pavilion – Ginkaku-ji

One of the three main stops during my 1 day exploration of Kyoto while in Japan was Ginkakuji a Zen temple which was originally constructed in the late 1400’s. It was originally intended to be the retirement villa of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned in Japan from 1449 to 1473. It is located in Eastern Kyoto and was modeled after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) which is located in northern Kyoto.

Ginkakuji consists of several temple buildings, a dry sand garden, moss garden and various water features. I made the stop at Ginkakuji after visiting Nijo Castle and Kinkakuji (more on those stops in future posts) and it was the perfect location to unwind after a hectic day of exploration.

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Circular Route and Higashiyama Culture

From the entrance to the complex there is a fairly circular multilevel route that winds through the temple grounds where visitors can enjoy different highlights such as Kannon Hall, “Sea of Silver Sand” and Togudo while learning about Higashiyama Culture and how it impacted on various tradition in Japan such as Noh theater, Garden design and the tea ceremony.

Family Friendly Attraction

It’s a fairly decent walk to complete the whole course but is very family friendly especially for those with toddlers.There were various rest stops; my favourite of which offered views of sections of Kyoto from up high. Ginkakuji didn’t offer much that I’d want a return visit to see or experience again but is a good stop for anyone exploring Kyoto especially families and groups. Check out the video embedded above as well as lots more photos below.

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4 thoughts on “Temple of the Silver Pavilion – Ginkaku-ji

  1. Hiya – well, it’s a hard ask to see Kyoto in one day… and it’s a shame that you didn’t enjoy Ginkakuji as much as we did. I’d definitely put it on my top 5 list of places to visit in Kyoto. Not because it has so many dramatic features, but rather, there is an atmosphere as you walk up into the foot-hills that I can understand why it could be been so sought after a location. Peaceful. And it’s also a great stepping off point for the Philosopher’s Walk – another highlight. We’d definitely go back again.

    I think people do tend to get a bit disappointed with Ginkakuji if they’ve gone into it thinking about places like Kinkakuji or Kiyomizu-Dera. Howver, they’re like chalk and cheese. However, as autumn colours come out, this place takes on a different sort of glamour. Then again, there’s a big difference when you’ve only got 1 day (I can’t imagine seeing Kyoto in a day… but I’m a garden/history/architecture nut).

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