Created 9-Oct-14
35 photos

Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) is a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather's villa at the base of Kyoto's northern mountains.

The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa's death in 1490. As the retirement villa of an art obsessed shogun, Ginkakuji became a center of Higashiyama Culture, which had a broad impact throughout Japan. The arts developed and refined during the time include the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, noh theater, poetry, garden design and architecture.

Despite its name, the Silver Pavilion was never covered in silver. Instead, it is believed that the name arose as a nickname more than a century after the building's construction to contrast it with the Golden Pavilion. Alternatively, it is explained that moonlight reflecting on the building's dark exterior, which was originally covered in black lacquer, gave it a silvery appearance.

Nanzenji Temple is the head temple of the Nanzenji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. It dates back to the mid 13th century, when the Emperor Kameyama built his retirement villa at the temple's present location and later converted it into a Zen temple. Its buildings were all destroyed during the civil wars of the late Muromachi Period (1333-1573). The oldest of the current buildings were built after that period (adapted from japan-guide.com and elsewhere).

Ginkakuji from above

Ginkakuji from above

Hall of the Eastern Quest

Hall of the Eastern Quest

Zen Garden: Sea of Silver Sand

Zen Garden: Sea of Silver Sand

Moon Viewing Platform

Moon Viewing Platform

Ceremonial Washing Well

Ceremonial Washing Well

...and another one

...and another one

Narrow bridge over water.

Narrow bridge over water.

Us!

Us!

A very Zen praying mantis.

A very Zen praying mantis.

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