Kinkakuji, the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, in the north west of Kyoto, is Japan's most iconic sacred site.
|Kinkakuji in 1885|
Visited by thousands of people each day, the buildings they see actually date from the 1950s when the temple, originally founded in 1397, was burnt down by a deranged monk—events immortalized in Yukio Mishima's novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.
The actual name of Kinkakuji is Rokuonji (鹿苑寺), or Temple of the Deer Garden, but Kinkakuji's splendid five-story gilt pagoda has come to define the temple in both name and form. A Zen Buddhist temple since its founding, it was converted to sacred use from being the residence of the noble Saionji clan, whose power continued through the centuries, most notably in recent times in its domination of the Sumitomo zaibatsu in the nineteenth century, and in its political influence, the last of the genro, or pre-WW2 elder statesmen/founding fathers of modern Japan, being Saionji Kinmochi.
Prepare yourself for a visit to these holy Japanese grounds by watching this short movie of Kinkakuji Temple.
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