We left for Kinkaku-ji [金閣寺] by bus on a rainy Monday morning. Even in the rain the Golden Pavilion is a very impressive site. Kinkaku-ji is the informal name for the main building for Rokuon-ji [鹿苑寺 (Deer Garden Temple)]. In the 1220s it was the villa of Kintsune Saionji, a central figure in the imperial court.
The rain prevented Kyōko-chi (Mirror Pond) from reflecting much
Three years after abdicating the throne in 1394, Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of Ashikaga began to build his own villa which he called Kitayamadono. The architecture and gardens of this complex focused around the Golden Pavilion. After Yoshimitsu’s death, the site was made into a Zen temple in accordance with his will.
Kinkaku-ji was reconstructed in its original form in 1955 after a monk set fire to the temple in 1950. The monk was arrested and confessed that he wanted to die in the flames. Mishima Yukio’s novel The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is loosely based on this event. The temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Fudo-do, a hall dedicated to the God of Fire
It wouldn’t be a World Cultural Heritage site without Coca-Cola and Häagen-Dazs vending machines:
All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.