GINKAKU-JI (銀閣寺, lit. "Temple of the Silver Pavilion"),
officially named JISHō-JI (慈照寺, lit. "Temple of Shining
Mercy"), is a
Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of
Japan . It is
one of the constructions that represents the
Higashiyama Culture of
Muromachi period .
Ashikaga Yoshimasa initiated plans for creating a retirement villa
and gardens as early as 1460; and after his death, Yoshimasa would
arrange for this property to become a
Zen temple. The temple is today
associated with the
Shokoku-ji branch of
The two-storied Kannon-den (観音殿, Kannon hall), is the main
temple structure. Its construction began February 21, 1482 (Bummei 14
, 4th day of the 2nd month). The structure's design sought to emulate
Kinkaku-ji which had been commissioned by his grandfather
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu . It is popularly known as Ginkaku, the "Silver
Pavilion" because of the initial plans to cover its exterior in silver
foil; but this familiar nickname dates back only as far as the Edo
Ōnin War , construction was halted. Despite Yoshimasa's
intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil
overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never
realized before Yoshimasa's death. The present appearance of the
structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last
saw it. This "unfinished" appearance illustrates one of the aspects of
"wabi-sabi " quality.
Ginkaku-ji was originally built to serve as a place
of rest and solitude for the Shogun. During his reign as Shogun,
Ashikaga Yoshimasa inspired a new outpouring of traditional culture,
which came to be known as
Higashiyama Bunka (the Culture of the
Eastern Mountain). Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa
sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens
Ōnin War worsened and
Kyoto was burned to the ground.
In 1485, Yoshimasa became a
Zen Buddhist monk. After his death on
January 27, 1490 (Entoku 2, 7th day of the 1st month), the villa and
gardens became a
Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after
Yoshimasa's Buddhist name.
After extensive restoration, started February 2008,
again in full glory to visit. The garden and temple complex are open
to the public. There is still no silver foil used. After much
discussion, it was decided to not refinish the lacquer to the original
state. The lacquer finish was the source of the original silver
appearance of the temple, with the reflection of silver water of the
pond on the lacquer finish.
In addition to the temple's famous building, the property features
wooded grounds covered with a variety of mosses. The
Japanese garden ,
supposedly designed by the great landscape artist
Sōami . The sand
Ginkaku-ji has become particularly well known; and the
carefully formed pile of sand which is said to symbolize
Mount Fuji is
an essential element in the garden.
Autumn view from the pond
Togudo Hall in Fall
a National Treasure
Kannon-Hall and Pond
Glossary of Japanese Buddhism
Glossary of Japanese Buddhism for an explanation of terms
concerning Japanese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhist art, and Japanese
Buddhist temple architecture.
* Historic Monuments of Ancient
Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)
* List of National Treasures of
* List of
Special Places of Scenic Beauty,
Special Historic Sites
Special Natural Monuments
* Tourism in
* ^ Yamasa: Gikaku-ji.
* ^ A B "Protecting Ginkaku-ji, the Beauty of Wabi-sabi; Reluctance
to Black Lacquering the Outer Wall,"
Kyoto Shimbun. January 23, 2008.
* ^ Keene, Donald. (2003). Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion, p.
* ^ Keene, p. 88.
* ^ Titsingh, p. 361.
* Keene , Donald. (2003). Yoshimasa and the Silver Pavilion: The
Creation of the Soul of Japan. New York:
Columbia University Press
Columbia University Press .
ISBN 978-0-231-13056-1 ; OCLC 52268947
* Titsingh , Isaac, ed. (1834). ,
Nipon o daï itsi ran
Nipon o daï itsi ran ; ou,
Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of
Great Britain and Ireland .