Golden Pavilion

In Kyoto, Japan, situated across the Kyoko-Chi pond is the Golden Pavilion, one of the most enchanting sights one can come across in a lifetime. Locally known as Kinkaku-ji which means the ‘golden pavilion’, this is a Zen temple of the Rinzai-shu Buddhist. The top two floors of the temple are covered in gold leaf, which shimmers in the daytime and its reflection in the serene pond accentuates its beauty. The garden amidst which the Golden pavilion is situated is known as Rokuon-ji, the Deer garden Temple. The Golden pavilion is a designated National Special Historic Site, a National Special Landscape and is a World Cultural Heritage Site in Kyoto.

Golden Pavilion

Temple of Golden Pavilion Information

Golden Pavilion Information
Mountain Name Hokuzan
Denomination Zen, Rinzai sect, Shōkoku-ji school
Venerated Kannon
Founded 1398
Founder(s) Ashikaga Yoshimitsu
Founding Priest Musō Soseki
Address 1 Kinkakuji-chō, Kita-ku, Kyōto, Kyoto Prefecture
Country Japan

History of the Golden Pavilion

In 1397, the third shogun of the Ashikaga Shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, retired to this secluded place and built his villa, the Golden Pavilion. After his death, as per his wishes the Golden Pavilion was consecrated as a Zen Buddhist temple dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy, Kannon. The abbot’s chamber came under the control of Emperor Gomino. During the Onin wars (1467-1477), all the buildings except the Kinkaku-ji were destroyed and later rebuilt. In 1950 a fanatic monk set fire to the Golden pavilion and the building was reduced to ashes. The present golden pavilion was again rebuilt in 1955.

The Beautiful Golden Pavilion

The Golden pavilion is a three storey temple amidst the lush greenery of the Rokuon-ji temple complex. The Golden Pavilion is actually a repository of the Buddha’s ashes and is hence known as the Shariden.

  • The three storey’s of the Golden Temple follow a definite and separate architectural style.
  • The first floor of the Golden Pavilion, known as the Chamber of Dharma Waters is built in the Shinden –Zukuri style, is called the Hosui and was used for meetings and cultural programs.
  • The second floor of the Golden Pavilion, known as the Tower of Sound Waves, follows the style of the warrior aristocrats or the Buke-Zukuri, is called as the ‘Chuon-dou’ and enshrines the Kannon.
  • The third floor is rendered in traditional Zenshu-Butseden-Zukuri style, is called the ‘Kutsukyocho’ and enshrines the Buddha.
  • The second and third floors of the Golden Temple are covered in gold leaf.
  • The Hogyo style roof is covered by thin wood dust called Kokera-buki.
  • The Golden Pavilion is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament.

Gardens of the Golden Pavilion

The beautiful and elegant strolling garden amidst which the Golden pavilion is situated illustrates the harmony between heaven and earth and harks back to the days of the Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. They have retained their ancient glory managing to escape all destruction that befell the Golden Pavilion.


See Also Other Natural Wonders in Asia