Short Visit to Kinkaku-ji
November 3, 2012 § Leave a comment
Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto, whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuon-ji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and, according to his will, it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death, in 1408.
Kinkakuji is an impressive structure, built overlooking a large pond, and is the only building left of Yoshimitsu’s former retirement complex. It has burned down numerous times, throughout its history, including twice during the Onin War, a civil war that destroyed much of Kyoto; and once again more recently in 1950, when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure was rebuilt in 1955.
The garden complex is an excellent example of Muromachi period garden design, a period considered to be a classical age of Japanese garden design. The correlation between buildings and its settings were greatly emphasized during this period. It was a way to integrate the structure within the landscape, in an artistic way.
It is designated as a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is one of 17 locations comprising the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually.