The city of Kyoto can be seen at the top of the hill. It's sometimes hidden among the branches of the trees (they blocked the view of Kyoto City) on some parts of the path going down the hill but there are some good view decks where you can take some good shots of the City of Kyoto on top of the hill.
Stop1 Don't rush! What the heck! You are on vacation! That's what I did when I went to Kyoto. I probably stop every few steps. Not that I am gasping for breath. It's just that I wanted to enjoy the scenery! I look at everything- mesmerize how wonderful the people in the old days how the built such a wonderful temple in the hills of Kyoto!
There are so many temples in Kyoto. If you like walking and hiking, you will probably like going to this temple. The walk is breathtakin. You willeasily forget how much steps you had taken. It's easy to get distracted by the great view of the garden. The well-taken cared of bonsai trees, the well-raked sand, the variety of foliage inside the temple's court, the gorgeous colorful Japanese maple trees, the tall and swaying bamboos, the crackling stream going down as the water touches the mound of rocks below the hill, the silent pond...
It's very refreshing to go to this place. As if your soul goes to heaven and you forget how chaotic this world is!
Every step that you take, you should take a deep breath and enjoy the moment as it won't last long...
It is different from Kinkakuji. Gin means silver, while kin means gold. I hope the temple with cover by silver, but I found only a wooden temple. I don't know why the temple was named Ginkakuji (siler temple).
I think this temple is not special, just usual temple. You can visit it IF you HAVE TIME.
The Ginkakuji Temple is one of the temples that is not perched on a hill. Just like the Toji Temple, it is close to the streets of Kyoto. If you are not up to distance walking, you should visit the Ginkakuji Temple first. It is at the heart of Kyoto!
When we went there, many school children were having their school picture-taking. The girls and the boys were all in their traditional costumes. It was one of the highlights of my visit in Kyoto. To see the Ginkakuji Temple coupled with all these children in Japanese kimono was such an expectacular and memorable experience!
The Ginkakuji Temple is very colorful with its bright deep orange color. The grounds were covered with thick white sand - not sure how it got there. The whole compound was huge and it has different structures that are equally and beautifully made!
There is a water fountain outside where visitors can experience the cleansing before they enter the temple. The gates to the temple were humungous and once you get inside you see all the buildings lined in a 180 degree angle.
My sisters and I took a lot of pictures but I was more fascinated asking permission to the parents of the children whether I can take a picture of them or be in their pictures! Luckily, all the mothers I had asked seemed to be nice and pleasant. I was able to take pictures of the school girls and boys in kimonos!
Ginkaku-ji impressed me just as much if not more than the Golden Pavillion. It was more the whole grounds than the actually building. It is truly beautiful from the Zen Garden, how did they do that, to the oldness of the actual structure. Walking through the gardens is amazing. There numerous water features and benches where you can sit and truly enjoy the view. Up near the top of the grounds you can see the whole of Kyoto open up before you. It is truly worth it and I highly recommend you take your time to enjoy everthing.
Entrance Fee is Y 500.
Ginkakuji temple, a Zen temple, was established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa of the 8th Marumachi Shogunate. Located in the hills of higashiyama, the Ginkakuji is the northern end of the famed Path of Philosophy. The Kannon hall is the main building at the temple. The intention was to cover it in silver, but construction was halted, and the silver covering never placed on the pavilion unlike its sister pavillion, the Kinkakuji or Golden Pavillion
This is a recommended 3 day mostly walking tour to some of the most magnificent cultural treasures in the world, in Kyoto.
Consider getting a 2 day pass (unlimited buses and subways).
1st day stops: Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillion), Ryoanji (Zen Garden), Ninnaji; then bus to Arashiyama, visit Tenryuji, walk through the bamboo forest, visit Adashino-Nembutsuji (Tombs of the Unknown Dead)
2nd day stops: Sanjusangendo Temple, Kyomizu-dera Temple, walk through Sannenzaka and Maruyama Park, Kenninji Temppe, Yasaka Shrine, Chio-in Temple, Shoren-in Temple (Awata Palace)
3rd day stops: Shimogamo Shrine, Ginkaku-ji Temple, Nanzenji Temple, Eikan-do Temple, Heian Jingu Shrine
Nightime - view a potpourri of Japanese traditional arts at Gion Kobu Kaburenju Theater (Gion Corner)
Significance: Many of these places are UNESCSO World Heritage Sites; difficult to find so much culture compressed in a mid-sized city anywhere.
Ginkakuji temple complex is situated in the eastern part of Kyoto. You can reach it on bus number 32, which drops you the closest.
After a short walk up to the temple along a shopping street lined with souvenir shops you arrive at the main entrnace to the temple. The temple complex includes the Ginkakuji pavilion (originally it was planned that it would be covered in silver leaf, but this never happened), a remarkably spectacular zen garden featuring a mini Mt Fuji, and other temple buildings. The Tougudo building is a pretty sight from the garden walkway. You can wander into the temple buildings (beside the sand zen garden). A walkway through the gardens passes a piped waterfall and then proceeds up the hill behind the complex to a viewing area where you can look over the whole place.
The entrance fee in 2006 was JPY600, I think.
This pavilion was also built by a shogun but his ambition to cover the building with silver was never realized. After Shugn Yoshimasa's death, the villa was coverted into a temple. The whole compound is quite big and it's nice to walk around it. Don't miss the meticulously raked cones of white sand, tall pines and a pond in front of the temple.
It is so called to distinguish from Kinkaku-ji(Golden Pavilion), and is not actually silvered.
If you take these two temples into Japanese history, you may understand their name and architecture. Here is what I learned
from the book:
Kinkaku-ji was built in 1397, when the Muromachi Shogunate was at its peak, representing rich and extravagant culture of the age.
Ginkaku-ji was built 92 years later, in 1489, when civil war had turned Kyoto into a burnt-out wasteland and people, despairing for the future, had turned to religion in the hope of achieving happiness in the after-life.
The mood of these times is reflected in the awesome beauty of this buildind, a beauty somehow tinged with sadness.
But the day I went to the Ginkaku-ji temple, it's covered by the snow, which make it so suit for its name.
You can climb the hill in the garden to have a whole view of the temple and the further areas.
Ginkakuji or Silver Pavilion is the more commonly known name for Jisho-ji. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th Ashikaga Shogun and grandson to Ashikaga Yoshimitsu who built Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion.
While Kinkakuji was covered with gold leaf, Ginkakuji's was not covered in silver. The intention was there to do so by Yoshimasa, but he probably never got around to it. Despite the lack of pure silver covering, the architecture and well-kept grounds of Ginkakuji is extremely lovely. There are pathways that brings you deeper into the wooded areas surrounding the temple and finally up onto an observatory where you get a nice view of the temple with Kyoto city in the background.
In the picture on the left, you will see a white sand garden. This is the Ginshadan - Sea of Silver Sand. The mound in the middle is the Kogetsudai - Moon viewing Platform. The tale goes that the sea of silver sand is suppose to reflect the light of the moon, while one sits on the plaform to wait for the rising of the moon over the Higashiyama Mountains.
Ginkakuji was not initially intended to be a Zen temple, and was only converted to one after Yoshimasa's death in 1490.
Visit my Kinkakuji & Ginkakuji Travelogue
Entrance fee: 500yen
Hours: 8:30am-5pm, 9am-4:30pm (winter months)