Friday, April 9, 2010

Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺

Ginkaku-ji or The Temple of the Silver Pavilion, is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyōto that was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun. During his reign as Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa inspired a new outpouring of traditional culture.

"I love
My hut
At the foot of the Moon-awaiting Mountain
And the reflection
Of the sinking sky"
Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-1490)

Pictured is the karaesanisui garden (dry garden) called Ginshaden or the Sea of Silver Sand. The garden consists of a 2 foot platform of sand that is meant to be viewed as a sea. The highly labor intensive maintenance of the garden requires that the platform walls be reshaped and the garden re-raked everyday. The cone shaped structure is called the Kogetsudai, or Moon-viewing Platform, it might resemble Mount Fuji or was possibly designed to reflect divine light into the hearts of the visitors like the moon. Final image is from the sakura lined path that leads to the gate of the temple and its garden.


  1. were you surprised that it isn't "silver"? When I took my parents to see it they were :)

  2. This was my second time to Ginkaku-ji, however the last was 12 years ago, but I do recall having seen Kinkaku-ji first and then being surprised and a little disappointed that Ginkaku-ji was just wood and not actually silver. I did enjoy it more this time around both because of the sakura and perhaps my expectations were more on track :)

  3. we also saw kinkakuji first then ginkakuji, I think that was why we were surprised/disappointed :)