The Not-So Silver Pavilion
Ginkaku-ji the “Temple of the Silver Pavilion,” is a Zen temple in Kyoto. We visited on a rather rainy day before walking along the nearby Philosopher’s Path. Although we didn’t go inside, I think the main attraction here is the garden, which was simply stunning. The temple dates from 1460, when Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa began the design. The goal was to cover the main structure in silver, which is why it’s often referred to as the Silver Pavilion, but unfortunately that never happened. Hence a great deal of confusion for tourists when they go to see a Silver Pavilion that is not silver. In fact, the building looks very much like it did when Yoshimasa died, and it’s become a prime example of “wabi-sabi” style. The primary element in the garden is the pile of sand, perfectly symmetrical, that represents Mount Fuji, and the waves of sand that represent the ocean. It’s quite stunning in person, and I’m dying to know how they got the sand so perfect! We did see a gardener working with a special rake-type thing to shape the grounds, which gives me an idea of how much hard work it is to maintain!
Rather than inundate this post with pictures (a la Alex and the metro), I’m just going to post a slideshow so you can see the glory of the garden! Enjoy!