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Golden Pavilion

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/08 Travel & View point , , ,

Golden Pavilion

Golden Pavilion on a clear autumn blue sky with its reflection clearly shown on its surrounding pond (Autumn 2006)

It was early autumn when I first had the chance to travel to the city of Kyoto with my Japanese teacher and a colleague from work. Visiting a number of tourist attractions, one place stood apart from all of them – the Golden Pavilion or Kinkaku-ji.

The Golden Pavilion

Among the many UNESCO World Heritage sites all over japan, the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) which is located in Kyoto is probably the most photographed of all. And was also used as inspiration for the Silver Pavilion.

A Zen Buddhist temple built during Muromachi period by the 3rd shogun Ashikaga. The temple is a three-story building with only the top two floors covered with pure gold leaf. These three floors respectively show different architectural styles. The 1st floor is called the Chamber of Waters (Shinden-zukuri), built in the imperial palace style and the only floor not covered in gold. The 2nd floor is called the Tower of Wind Waves (Buke-zukuri), the samurai house and houses the Bodhisattva Kannon. The 3rd floor is Karayo style or zen temple style, containing a triad of Buddhas and 25 Bodhisattva figures.

The temple garden grounds is an excellent example of Muromachi period garden design. The Pond called Mirror Pond (Kyoko-chi) which includes islands of various sizes, the Naka-jima and Iwa-jima. The pond was designed to resemble the image of the Seven Treasure Pond found in the scenes of the Buddhist Paradise.

The garden complex surrounding the Golden Pavilion also feature other notable structures like a small tea-house (Sekkai-tei) and smaller temples to honor the gods.

The current Pavilion is an exact replica of the original temple after it was set on fire by a monk in 1950. But its garden and grounds are exactly the same as they were.

Golden Pavilion

Perched on the roof of the Golden Pavilion is a “ho-o”, a classical Chinese mythical phoenix bird. (Autumn 2006)

Tips on Visiting the Golden Pavillion

If you research online many travel sites would say that the best time to visit the Golden Pavilion would be early in the morning. And I strongly suggest that you do so. Having been there for three times already. One of the good reasons why you should be one of the first persons to visit this place is because of the number of visitors that come here everyday (the temple grounds can get a bit crowded). Another good reason to come early is for you to get a much better view of the Golden Pavilion’s reflection on its surrounding pond. It is during this time of the day where any amateur photographer can use any point and shoot camera and get pictures like a pro.

Shimmering and with its reflection captured in the water of its surrounding pond, The Golden Pavilion is definitely a place worth visiting over and over again.

Golden Pavilion

Rokuon-ji (Deer Garden Temple, a temple dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of Mercy Kannon)

Open daily from 9am to 5pm with an admission fee of ¥400 (around $4).

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