Going to Kinkaku-ji recently in early autumn was a feast for the eyes. Although the maple trees had only sporadicly turned red, there was still beauty in the landscape. After arriving at the parking grounds (huge) we followed the many visitors towards the temple. We entered a walk way bordered of with trees and on our left was a wooden construction with a large bronze gong hanging from its roof. After receiving our entrance tickets we followed along a path that was encircled by a more than 2 meter tall hedge. We turned a few corners and there it was..."The Golden Pavilion" in all of its splendour. It was impressive to say the least, surrounded by the water of the pond, people everywhere, trying to take their picture with the temple behind them. When going there, one has to be prepared to cope with the multitude of fellow tourist, local as well as from all corners of the globe. Visitors from China and Taiwan, to name a bare few, are popular in the temple. As you walk along the pond, one enters the beautiful gardens and can explore all the picturesque corners of this park. There are many photo opportunities and it is a very nice place to just sit and relax. Walking along you'll see the Fudo-do on your way to the exit. There are some souvenir shops where one can get something to take back home. The exit leads down a relatively steep walk way of about a hundred meters...and you are back in the parking lot. There are so many things to take in, that it will take some time to digest it all, look at the pictures and re-live those unforgettable moments! Rokuon - ji Temple was originally built as a villa by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who had taken possession of a mountain villa of Saionji Temple in 1397. It was converted into a temple after Yoshimitsu's death. Officially named Rokuonji Temple, this temple is famous both in Japan and abroad as a symbol of Kitayama culture. The Kinkaku, or "Golden Pavilion," was named Rokuonji Temple after Yoshimitsu’s posthumous name Shari-den. Covered with gold, the image of the pavilion, which stands at the edge of Kyoko-chi pond, is reflected in the water. The pavilion is a three story building. Each floor is built in a different style; the first floor in the court noblemen’s residence style of the Heian period, the second floor in the samurai warriors house style, and the third floor in the Zen temple style. Gold leaf has been applied to the second and third floors over the lacquered surface. On top of the roof has been placed the brilliant figure of the Hō-ō (Phoenix), a legendary bird in China. The garden is designed to provide a view of different scenes while walking around a large pond called Kyoko-chi in its center, and accounts for about 93,000 of the 132,000 square meter temple grounds. The Kyoko-chi Pond alone takes up 60,600 square meters and includes islands of various sizes such as Naka-jima and Iwa-jima. There are also rocks and stones of unusual shapes. These islands have different shapes depending on the angle from which they are seen. In Japan, as earlier in China, the mythical Phoenix was adopted as a symbol of the imperial household, particularly the empress. This mythical bird represents fire, the sun, justice, obedience, fidelity, and the southern star constellations. According to legend (mostly from China), the Hō-ō appears very rarely, and only to mark the beginning of a new era -- the birth of a virtuous ruler, for example. In other traditions, the Hō-ō appears only in peaceful and prosperous times (nesting, it is said, in paulownia trees), and hides itself when there is trouble. As the herald of a new age, the Hō-ō descends from heaven to earth to do good deeds, and then it returns to its celestial abode to await a new era. It is both a symbol of peace (when the bird appears) and a symbol of disharmony (when the bird disappears).
Category:Travel and Places
Keywords:Ashikaga, Buddhism, Japan, Kinkaku-ji, Kyoko-chi, Kyoto, Rokuon-ji, Yoshimitsu, Zen, pond, 京都, 日本, 義満, 足利, 金閣寺, 鏡湖池, 鹿苑寺