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Monday, May 04, 2009

Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji), Kyoto

Ginkakuji Temple, Kyoto銀閣寺

Kyoto's Silver Pavilion represents perhaps the pinnacle of Japanese wabi sabi, or understated beauty.

Located at the northern end of the Philosopher's Walk near the foot of Mt. Hiei, the main pavilion at Ginkakuji is now under construction.

The building is now totally exposed, and work will continue until March, 2010.

The temple is still well worth a visit.

Yoshimasa Ashikaga built the temple as a retirement villa and gardens around 1460. Following his death, it became a Buddhist temple.

Ginkakuji Temple, KyotoThe main structure, Kannon hall, was designed in imitation of the the main hall at Kinkakuji.

That building was built by his grandfather, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

The "Silver Pavilion" is not silver, but was thus named because of plans to cover it in foil. It was never decorated with silver foil, however, because of the Onin War, which halted work on the temple.

The gardens at the temple are wonderful. The piled sand - above right - at the head of the garden is said to represent Mt. Fuji.

The grounds behind the temple afford a wonderful view of the pavilion and city beyond.

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