One of the more famous sites in Kyoto is the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji:

The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune.[8] Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionjis by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex.[8] When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes.[7][9]

A few shots from across the pond.


Our guide explained that it is not an original, having been burned down by a young monk who felt that the gold was contrary to the Buddhist ways:

During the Onin war, all of the buildings in the complex aside from the pavilion were burned down.[8] On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken, who then attempted suicide on the Daimon-ji hill behind the building. He survived, and was subsequently taken into custody. The monk was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released because of mental illnesses (persecution complex and schizophrenia) on September 29, 1955; he died of tuberculosis shortly after in 1956.[10] During the fire, the original statue of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was lost to the flames (now restored). A fictionalized version of these events is at the center of Yukio Mishima‘s 1956 book The Temple of the Golden Pavilion.[2]

The name’s origin:

The name Kinkaku is derived from the gold leaf that the pavilion is covered in. Gold was an important addition the pavilion because of its underlying meaning. The gold employed was to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death

I cannot remember the exact cost, but the gold cost is significant (20KG of gold rings a bell?). I could not find it, so feel free to drop a comment if you can fill in that gap in my memory!


The pond is filled with koi and turtles, including a few very long necked and rather vicious looking snapping turtles.


Beside the pavilion is a main building with a tree that has been shaped to look like a ship over hundreds and hundreds of years. The mast and bow are clearly seen, with the pebbles representing the ocean.



Our guide mentioned a few interesting facts:

You clean gold walls very carefully, every day.

The pipes are for shuttling the rain off the roof.

On the right you can see a single wire going to the top .. a lightening rod protecting the wooden building.


A beautiful garden and sight.


    • Thanks. Taking shots is an evolution. I look back at my shots during our European time and wished I would have had my 5D and known what I was doing with Lightroom.

      Just don’t have the energy to go back and properly reedit them.

      Kyoto is great .. You would enjoy it.

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