As you make your way along a pebbled path, you hear the gentle rustle of tall bamboos in the cool autumn breeze. The soothing melody is a perfect companion as you begin your stroll around the spacious grounds of Ginkakuji, taking in the sights of a moss garden, a dry sand garden, various temples, some dating back to its foundation, and of course the main attraction, Ginkakuji.
The Significance of Ginkakuji
Ginkakuji was modelled after Kinkakuji in 1482 at the request of shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the grandson of the original owner of Kinkakuji. Originally named Kannonden (Kannon Hall), this two-storey pavilion contains a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, although its interior is not open to public.
“Why is the Silver Pavilion not silver?” is a very common question. Ashikaga Yoshimasa originally intended to cover the structure in silver-foil but unfortunately his passing resulted in his dream never becoming reality. Additionally, before 2008, the structure initially had a black lacquer finish, giving it a silvery appearance when reflected under moonlight. This also contributed towards its nickname. After the 2008 restoration however, it was decided not to refinish the lacquer to its original state, leaving us to conjure a silvery-white pavilion glowing under a full moon in our imaginations.
What to Eat at Ginkakuji
Teahouse serving Japanese green tea and traditional Japanese snacks like mochi or senbei, shops selling snacks leading towards Ginkakuji, especially seasonally flavoured soft-serve ice-cream.
What to See at Ginkakuji
“Sea of Silver Sand”, a dry sand garden with the focal point of a large sand cone representing Mt. Fuji, called “Moon Viewing Platform”. Hondo (Main Hall) which displays paintings on its sliding doors, entry prohibited. Togudo, a temple dating back to the foundation of the grounds, also not open to public. Moss garden, landscaped with ponds, islands, bridges, streams and various plants. Hilltop views of Ginkakuji and the surrounding areas.
Telephone Number: 075-771-5725
Japanese Website URL: http://www.shokoku-ji.jp/g_about.html
Shop Holiday: None
How to access
By bus from Kyoto Station.
40 minutes journey via direct bus number 5, 17 or 100.Entrance Fee: 500 yen