Ginkaku-ji Temple

Ginkaku-ji Temple © Iry

About Ginkaku-ji Temple

Ginkaku-ji Temple is a commonly known name of Higashiyama Jisho-ji Temple, as one of subtemples under the head temple Shokoku-ji Temple. It started to be called Ginkaku-ji (a silver pavilion) by contrast to Kinkaku-ji (a gold pavilion) in the Edo period. The 8th Muromachi Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa started construction of a villa, Higashiyama-dono at the foot of Mt. Higashiyama in 1482. After Yoshimasa passed away, the villa was changed into a temple, Jisho-ji, named after Jisho-in, Yoshimasa's hogo (posthumous Buddhist name).

Yoshimasa succeeded to the shogunate and became the 8th Sei-i Tai-shogun at the age of 15. During his lifetime, he invested his aesthetic sense on building the villa which culminated in the representative of the Higashiyama Culture. The essence of the Higashiyama Culture is described as "wabi" and "sabi". Wabi refers to austerity and simplicity opposed to flamboyancy, and sabi is subdued refinement. Under the strong influence of Zen, wabi and sabi were sought for in the form of art such as tea ceremony, suibokuga ink painting, ceramic art and pottery, painting, and architecture. For example, Sen-no Rikyu in tea ceremony and Matsuo Basho in the haiku represent the philosophy of the wabi and sabi culture. After 500 years, Ginkaku, an accomplishment of Yoshimasa's aesthetics inspires visitors with the authentic essence of the Higashiyama Culture.

The highlight here is, of course, Kan'non-den, as a National Treasure. Kogetsudai (meaning 'moon viewing platform') in front of the hondo (main hall), a truncated cone of white sand, and Ginshadan (meaning 'sea of silver sand) with ripple patterns are another must see. The landscape is designed so that Ginkaku is illuminated by a reflection of moonlight of the moon rising over the eastern ridge of Tsukimachiyama behind the temple. The design of the karesansui (dry landscape) garden and Ginkaku structure is recognized as a master piece of artistry by taking darkness and moonlight into account.

Ginkaku shows a different face from season to season, looking quiet in spring, reflecting the fresh green color in the season of verdure, and incredibly beautiful in the season of colored leaves. In wintertime, Ginkaku in winter tranquility is truly beautiful, in marked contrast to the snow-covered Kinkaku's brilliance. It can be said that Ginkaku covered with snow embodies the best of wabi and sabi. You should not miss the taste of Ginkaku changing from season to season.


It is a 10 minute walk from 'Demachiyanagi' station of the Keihan Railway, or from 'Ginkakuji-michi' stop of the City Bus (Kyoto Transportation Bureau), and a 5 minute walk from 'Ginkakuji-mae' stop of the City Bus.

Image Gallery: Ginkaku-ji Temple

Description: Ginkaku-ji Temple

Sights Ginkaku-ji Temple (銀閣寺)
Address 2 Ginkakuji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto-shi
Phone / Fax Phone: 075-771-5725
Duration 1Hour(s)
Business Hours Monday:08:30-17:00
Closed dates 7 days open
Admission Fee Pay admission: 500yen
Recommended Season
Spring (March - May)
Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
Recommended target Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller

Map: Ginkaku-ji Temple