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While staying in Kyoto, the former capital city of Japan presently considered as the religious centre of Japan we visited a number of temples or temple complexes. Two of them were Zen Buddhist temples with small buildings called Pavilions at their focus – the Temple of the Silver Pavilion and the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Both Pavilions were commissioned ages ago by Japanese Shoguns: a grandfather (Golden Pavilion) and a grandson (Silver Pavilion).

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Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion was originally build in the XIV century. A shogun bought this place and converted into a villa, a place for contemplation and solitude. After his death, the pavilion and the surrounding buildings were converted into a Zen temple.

The main feature of the pavilion is the golden leaf coat that gives it an outstanding look. The building we can admire today is however not the original one. The Pavilion was torched in 1950 by a novice monk, and fully restored in 1955. The golden leaf coat was once again restored in the eighties.

The building is surrounded by a garden laid out Japanese style. The pavilion seems to be floating on a lake (the Japanese call it pond). The garden is different than its sister garden around the Silver Pavilion. One of the main differences is that here we have real water, in the other garden, although containing smaller ponds, the water is symbolised by sand (>>>). The other garden attributes are the same, typical for Japanese gardens, but the lake and the formation of rocks and plants around it and inside give it a very specific fleur.

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We arrived there in the late afternoon to make shots as the sun marches down. Unfortunately we arrived 20 minutes before close and concentrated to much on making good shots of the Pavilion. As I now look carefully through photos, I realise that it was a mistake. The lake and the garden itself is worth much more time to be contemplated (and photographed). So a small advice, the pavilion is one of the kind, but if you are there look around, too. Below some other pictures taken at this place.

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Index of posts on Japan  >>>