Kyoto – Ginkakuji (銀閣寺) Rendezvous

04 Jun

It’s been some time since I last updated my “pilgrimage”. So after the burning me eyes with the glaring Golden Temple Kinkakuji, the “Silver” one is up next. Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion) is another Buddhist temple and despite its name, it’s actually made of wood.

Right at the entrance is a fifty-meter-long pathway between the main gate and inner gate and its lined with a distinctive type of bamboo fencing that has come to be known as Ginkaku-ji fencing . This long narrow path looks sorta dramatic as if it sets one back into the olden days.

Surrounding the fences is a bamboo garden. The coolness generated by the bamboo and spareness between the temple gardens and the outside world creates worldly thoughts in our minds while journeying through the fences. In other words if you’re stressed out by the harried modern world and looking for some “zenity” without having to pay tru your nose for spa baths, then this metaphorical prelude into the sacred Pure Land paradise represented within is just for ya. LOL.

The Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku), was actually called the Kannon Hall. The temple was built originally as a retirement villa for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa and was originally to be covered in silver foil, contrasting his grandfather, Yoshimitsu’s building of the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion Temple). Anyway, the silver was never applied. I think its due to poor budget accounting so they ran out of dosh.

The gardens of Ginkakuji are attributed to the artist Soami and are famous for two piles of while sand that sparkle in the moonlight. In front of the Abbot’s Quarters (Hôjô) is a large garden of white gravel. The gravel is raked into a large horizontal expanse known as the Sea of Silver Sand (Ginshadan) next to a distinctive cone-shaped mound called the Moon-Viewing Platform (Kôgetsudai). Legend tells us that the Sea of Silver Sand is meant to reflect the light of the moon, while the Moon-Viewing Platform was meant to sit on while waiting for the moon to rise from the Higashiyama mountains.

At Ginkakuji, a lot seemed to dance around the connotation of moon-watching, including a small pond that is joined by a small waterfallcalled Sengetsu-se (moon watching fountain). The tiny waterfall is designed to spread ripples across the pond and the result of moon reflected on rippling waters is supposed to be another highlight of Ginkakuji… but we’ll never know cos the temple’s off-limits after 5. -.-!

In reality the temple is closed for renovation till 2010. Some of these photos were taken last September when I first visited Kyoto. Whatever the case I do hope that they’ll apply some silver foil to the temple after renovations.

Roof of Ginkakuji & heart of Kyoto

Some moss thingy I found on my way up the treks

Apparently they are VERY IMPORTANT MOSS (yeah like VIP)

Loved how the whole mountain is carpeted by luscious moss

Blooming flowers are a sign of spring

My Gyu-don (beef bowl) lunch with raw egg on top. YUM!


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  1. Ellene

    Monday, 9 June, 2008 at 22:34

    ahhh..i wana go…and enjoy the serenity, and greet my VIP cousins…the mosses…ahhhh