The silver Pavilion with a unique dry sand garden, located at the end of the path of philosophy.

Jisho-ji Temple, located at the foot of Higashiyama mountains in Kyoto, is better known as Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion.   Ginkaku-ji Temple was built as a retirement villa for the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482, modeled on his grandfather’s villa, famed Kinkaku-ji Temple, the golden Pavilion and the villa was converted into a Zen temple after his death in 1490. Now It belongs to the Rinzai Zen sect.

Despite its name, the Silver Pavilion was never plated with silver. It is said that the name appear as a nickname to contrast it with the Golden Pavilion.  Instead, it is explained that the Temple’s dark exterior appear silvery by the moon light reflection.
Shogun Yoshimasa obsessed the arts very much including the tea ceremony. The Togu-do building has a tea ceremony room which is believed to have become the prototype for all future tea ceremony rooms. Behind the Togu-do is a fresh-water stream where he ladled water for his tea.

ginkaku-ji winter
● The silver pavilion covered with snow
ginkaku-ji garden
● a dry sand garden in the patio

Ginkaku-ji became a center of contemporary culture, known as the Higashiyama Culture, developed and refined the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, noh theater, poetry, garden design and architecture during the period.

The Silver Pavilion can be seen shorty after entering the grounds. The pavilion is constructed in two different architecture styles between first and second story and contains a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy.

● “Sea of Silver Sand”, dry sand garden
ginkaku-ji dry sand garden
● “Moon Viewing Platform”, a massive sand cone

Today, Ginkaku-ji has the Silver Pavilion and, 6 other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden, which features ponds with islands and bridges, little streams and various plants and a unique dry sand garden, known as the “Sea of Silver Sand”, with a massive sand cone named “Moon Viewing Platform”.  Visitors can enjoy walking the path along a circular route around its grounds, and catch glimpses of the Pavilion and gardens from different points.

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Address: 2 Ginkakuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City

Hours : 8:30 to 17:00 (Dec – Feb. 9:00 to 16:30)

Admission : 500 yen

Access : 30-minute walk from Demachiyanagi Station on the Keihan Railway

Bus : Ginkaku-ji can be reached by direct bus number 5, 17 or 100 from JR Kyoto Station.

You can reach Ginkaku-ji by foot along the Path of philosophy from Nanzen-ji Temple in about 30-45 minutes.

The Path of Philosophy 「哲学の道」/ Kyoto

The Path of Philosophy is a pleasant path through the northern part of Higashiyama district. The path is most popular in early spring for the cherry blossom.


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