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ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) is a zen temple is kyoto, which happens to not be as popular as its related temple kinkaku-ji (金閣寺).  ginkaku-ji was established in 1482 by ashikaga yoshimasa (足利義政), the grandchild of ashikaga yoshimitsu (足利義満) who had kinkaku-ji built.  the nuance in the name of the two zen temples is that “gin” stands for silver while “kin” means gold.

ginkaku-ji was supposed to be covered with a silver foil, much like kinkaku-ji is covered by gold.  however there was a civil war raging in japan during this time period and funds were deemed better spent on other items.  thus the temple as we see it today has technically never been finished.  many japanese believe that ginkaku-ji stands in balance to the more flamboyant kinkaku-ji with its gold leaf coating.  i have even heard several japanese that because of its subdued or reserved nature, ginkaku-ji is more japanese in style than kinkaku-ji.

the official name of this zen temple is jisho-ji (慈照寺) and it was originally built as a reclusive palace for the shogun ashikaga yoshimasa.  the most famous aspect of this zen temple is its sand garden.  the mound of sand seen above purposely resembles mt. fuji.  i was very impressed with the garden and could only imagine how wonderful it will be in the spring, summer, and fall.

to get to the temple from kyoto station take bus number 100.  admission is 500 yen.

the sand garden:

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the rest of the zen temple:

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view of the temple, as well as from atop of the hill  ;)

ginkaku-ji’s location in kyoto:

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further information:

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