Modeled after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion) is probably the most popular Zen temple in Northern Higashiyama. Unlike Kinkakuji which was the cultural focus for Kyoto aristocrats, Ginkakuji was always the centre of cultural activities for the majority throughout history. As a Zen Buddhist temple, Ginkakuji was also named Jishō-ji (慈照寺). It was a focus of the local cultures, and influential in a number of traditional arts, including tea ceremony, flower arrangement, poetry, theatre, horticulture, and architectural design. Consisted of several temple buildings including the Silver Pavilion, a dry sand garden and a lush-green moss garden, Ginkakuji represents the grand finale at the northern end of the Philosopher’s Path. After Honenin Temple, we finished the remaining portion of the Philosopher’s Path and turned right onto Ginkakuji Sando (銀閣寺参道), the approaching route that led us to the famous Zen temple.
Beyond the main gate, the Ginkakuji Fence (銀閣寺垣) stood right in front of us. We turned right and walked towards the ticket office.
After getting our tickets, we immediately entered a small dry Zen garden. A few pine trees stood in magnificent gestures.
Everything in the dry Zen garden was carefully thought out and maintained.
Going through the Hoshokan Gate, we arrived at the main temple ground. Everything in the main garden centred at the Kinkyochi Pond (Mirror Pond).
Unlike Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) was never painted silver in colour. The humble timber structure matched perfectly well with the natural surroundings.
As we began to stroll along the garden path, we immediately arrived at the unique sand garden. The first unique feature was the Kogetsudai (向月台, Moon Viewing Platform).
The path brought us around the Ginshadan (銀沙灘, Silver Beach) in front of Hondo (Main Hall).
The linear patterns of the Ginshadan (銀沙灘, Silver Beach) were carefully maintained.
The round edge of the Ginshadan (銀沙灘, Silver Beach) with Kogetsudai (向月台) at the background.
A moss-covered rock in the Kinkyochi Pond (Mirror Pond) stood like a sculpture in the water.
Moss covered landscape around the tranquil Kinkyochi Pond (Mirror Pond).
The path continued to a peaceful waterfall known as Sengetsusen Waterfall (洗月泉, Moon Cleansing Waterfall).
The Sengetsusen waterfall (洗月泉) had become a fountain of wishes, where visitors would throw coins onto the stone in the water to make wishes.
Leaving the Togudo Hall (東求堂) and Hondo behind, the path began to climb up gently onto the hill behind the temple.
The undulating ground of the slope was covered with lush-green moss.
A good mix of vegetation on the hill, including maples and bamboo.
The path led us to a corner at the temple ground where the Ochanoi (Well for Tea Ceremony) was located.
On the hill, the view back down towards the temple buildings and the Kyoto scenery beyond was spectacular.
Looking down to the Ginshadan, the linear patterns of the Silver Beach looked really neat.
The path followed the topography led us gradually downhill back to the level of Kinkyochi Pond. Along the way, we passed by the beautiful slopes covered with green moss.
On our way out of Ginkakuji, we had a last peek at the Silver Pavilion beyond the autumn maples and the beautiful moss garden.
Our posts on 2016 Kyoto and Nara:
OUR FIRST KYOTO STORY, Japan
DAY 1: ARRIVAL AT HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: RYOANJI TEMPLE (龍安寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NINNAJI TEMPLE (仁和寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KINKAKUJI TEMPLE (金閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: KITANO TENMANGU SHRINE (北野天満宮), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 1: NIGHT AT KIYOMIZU-DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: MORNING STROLL IN SOUTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA (清水寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: KIYOMIZU DERA to KENNINJI, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: ○△□ and Chouontei Garden and Ceiling of Twin Dragons, KENNINJI TEMPLE (建仁寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: SFERA BUILDING (スフェラ・ビル), SHIRKAWA GION (祇園白川), KAMO RIVER (鴨川) & DOWNTOWN, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 2: YAKITORI HITOMI (炭焼創彩鳥家 人見), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: MORNING IN NORTHERN HIGASHIYAMA (北東山), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: NANZENJI (南禅寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: PHILOSOPHER’S PATH (哲学の道), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: HONENIN (法然院), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: GINKAKUJI (銀閣寺), Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 3: CRAB AND SAKE, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 4: HORYUJI (法隆寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: TODAIJI TEMPLE (東大寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KASUGA TAISHA (春日大社), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: KOFUKUJI (興福寺), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: NAKAGAWA MASASHICHI SHOTEN (中川政七商店 遊中川), Nara (奈良), Japan
DAY 4: RAMEN & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 1, Kyoto (京都), Japan
DAY 5: FUSHIMI INARI SHRINE (伏見稲荷大社) Part 2, Kyoto, Japan
DAY 5: FAREWELL KYOTO, Kyoto, Japan