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Ginkaku-ji, or the Temple of the Silver Pavilion was built by Shogun, Yoshimasa Ashikaga as part of his retirement villa. At his death, it became the Zen temple, Jisho-ji. (Yoshimasa’s grandfather, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga, built Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion.
In honor of his grandfather, Yoshimasa wished to cover parts of the two story building with silver leaf. The temple was never covered with silver as intended due to the Onen Wars that destroyed much of Kyoto. This garden is also known for the mound of white sand called Kogetsudai, or Moon Viewing Dias, that reflects the moonlight like a moon in itself, while casting interesting shadows and light over the sands around it. It is part of the large expanse of raked sand called Ginsadan, or Sea of Silver Sand. It gives the feeling of rolling waves coming to the shore, and appears to be made of silver in the moonlight. Some believe this is a possible source for the name “Silver Pavilion.”
Although the previously mentioned features often receive the most notoriety, the complex also contains an extraordinary stroll and pond garden that stands on its own merits, offering picturesque views from the winding paths within and above the garden and temple. This is a garden to be seen and enjoyed in any season, rain or shine. On my last visit, my host apologized for the light rain as we walked through the garden. I considered it a gift, as the garden was amazing in the mist.
- Ginkaku-ji (lit. “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”), officially named Jisho-ji (lit. “Temple of Shining Mercy”), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto, Japan. It is one of the constructions that represent the Higashiyama Culture of Muromachi period.
- The two-storied Kannon-den (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 the golden 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 period (1600–1868).
From official website with auto translations to English:
- The official name called Higashiyama Ginkaku-ji, one of Tatchu temple of Shokoku-ji. Ginkakuji of the name derived from the Edo era, to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, and is said to have become a thing that is called a Ginkakuji.
- A mountain villa Higashiyama temple which was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa of the Muromachi shogunate Yashiro Shogun is the origin, the death of Yoshimasa, was named Ginkaku-ji in honor to Hogo Institute of Yoshimasa become a temple of the Rinzai sect.
- The family estate took over (from?)the shogun and Yoshimasa. It(they?) projected their own sense of beauty. A big mountain retreat that reflects the beauty of the essence serving simple Cottin of Higashiyama culture . Ginkaku is unbroken (it?) also conveyed to modern drama after the five hundred years of the spirit of Yoshimasa … (?) said that investigators of beauty.
Excellent summary and virtual tour from Bowdoin College