Ginkakuji temple [銀閣寺]

Ginkaku in Ginkakuji
Ginkaku in Ginkakuji
Photo by Kyoto Free Photo

Ginkakuji in autumn
Ginkakuji in autumn
Photo by Kyoto Free Photo

Map around Ginkakuji

Ginkakuji is a Buddhist temple located at the north part of Higashiyama mountains.

Kyoto Imperial Palace is located about 4 km west, and Nanzenji temple is located about 2 km south of this temple.

This temple is one of 17 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto" designated as a World Heritage Site.

The formal name of this temple is Jishôji (慈照寺).
This is a temple of Rinzai school, one of the three Japanese Zen sects.

Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1436-1490) was the 8th Shogun of Muromachi Government, and retired in 1473.

Then he started to construct a villa for him in this place from 1482.
And he lived in a completed building from 1483.

But he died in 1490, and the whole buildings in the villa were completed in the same year.
So the villa was changed to the temple for Yoshimasa, and the temple was named as "Jishôji".

Approach with hedges in Ginkakuji
Approach with hedges in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

Shoin in Ginkakuji
Shoin in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

After passing through Somon gate, the visitors walk through an approach between high hedges.
That is unique.

There is Chumon gate, and there are some buildings of the temple such as Houjou (方丈), Shoin (書院), etc. on the left side of the precinct.

On the right side, the beautiful Japanese garden extends and the central building is Kannon-den temple (観音殿).
It is generally called Ginkaku (銀閣).

"Ginkaku" means "Silver Pavilion", but it is not decorated with silver.

"Kinkaku" in well-known Kinkakuji means "Golden Pavilion", and is covered with gold leaves, true to its name.
(Kinkakuji is located about 6.5 km west of Ginkakuji.)

It is said that the name of "Ginkaku" had been used by contrast with Kinkaku from Edo Period (1603-1868).

This temple is designated as a national treasure.

Ginkaku (Kannon-den) in Ginkakuji
Ginkaku (Kannon-den) in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

Houjou and Ginshadan in Ginkakuji
Houjou & Ginshadan in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

There is a pond in front of Ginkaku, and there is a geometric and unique garden between the pond and Houjou.
It is called Ginshadan (銀沙灘).

The garden is paved with white and gray stones and sands with stripes.

And there is an object of truncated cone shape made of sand.
It is called Kôgetsudai (向月台).

Ginshadan and Kogetsudai in Ginkakuji
Ginshadan & Kogetsudai in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

Togudo in Ginkakuji
Togudo in Ginkakuji
Photo by Railstation.net

There is Tôgudô (東求堂) near the edge of the pond.

It is an original building built in 1486, and was used as the office of Yoshimasa.
This is also designated as a national treasure.

Ginkakuji

How to get here

By route bus, about 36 minutes to Ginkakuji-mae stop from Kyoto station.
Then about 6 minutes there.

About 25 to 28 minutes to Ginkakuji-michi stop from Kyoto station.
Then about 10 minutes there.

Hotels around Ginkakuji

Hotels around Ginkakuji

Other Tourist Attractions in Kyoto Prefecture

Kyoto National Museum Sanjusangen-do Chishaku-in Kiyomizu-dera Ninen-zaka, Sannen-zaka Yasaka Pagoda Kodaiji Kenninji Gion Minamiza theater Yasaka Shrine Maruyama Park Chion-in Shoren-in Nanzenji Samurai Kembu Theater Heian Shrine Eikando Honen-in Philosopher's Walk Bishamon-do

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