What happened to the silver at Ginkaku-ji?

Having visited the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji temple we were keen to see the Silver Pavilion at Ginkaku-ji temple. The temple had started life as a villa for shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa in the late 1400s. The name Ginkaku-ji translates to Silver Pavilion we were informed. Sadly it was never given the silver treatment like the gold pavilion at Kinkaku-ji as the shogun died and the villa was turned into a temple complex. Notwithstanding, it was well worth the visit. The day we visited was a public holiday in Kyoto and fearing heavy crowds we went early on the bus. This proved a good move as we arrived about 9:30 and beat the tourist buses. The street leading up to the temple complex had many food and souvenir stalls. Once inside however it was quiet and the gardens were beautifully kept. One side of the main path as we entered was a dry garden with raked white gravel.

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On the other side was a small pond next to the ‘silver pavilion’ which was part of the contrasting wet garden.

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Another building in the complex also had a small pond near it too.

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As we continued to walk along the path through the garden other views of the silver pavilion were possible, enabling it to be highlighted in different ways at different points.

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Other buildings were set into the garden and surrounding ponds.

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As we moved through the garden the path ascended

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so that eventually we had excellent views of the city and the hills beyond.

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Returning down the path into the lower garden we were able to see many hues of green.

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I’ll finish with a couple of photos of the silver pavilion reflected in one of the larger ponds near it and one of us taken by one of the few other visitors to Ginkaku-ji whilst we were there. This sparsity of other visitors made the experience extremely peaceful and a real highlight of our time in Kyoto.

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