Kinkaku-ji Temple

Kinkaku-ji, which literally means the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion,” is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It became a Zen temple after his death in 1408, according to his wishes.

The building, set on a large ground overlooking a pond that is said to never dry up, burned down several times in its history, including during the Onin War, and again in 1950, when it was set on fire by a fanatic monk. The present structure dates to 1955. The first floor, with its natural wood pillars and white plaster walls, belongs the to the Shinden style of the Heian Period (710-1185), while the second floor is built in the style of samurai residences. Finally, the third floor, is gilded inside and out and capped with a golden phoenix. Apart from the building, the site has a beautiful garden, some statues that visitors throw coins at for luck, and the Sekkatei Tea House.


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