Autumn 2021. In our Grand Scheme of Travels, Danny and I had planned to be in Japan with Michel. Quod non. So let’s go back to March and April 2013, when my sister Florence, her husband Kenneth, my nephew Leo and my niece Isaline travelled to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. The classic intro to Nippon and a golden opportunity. I grew up with anime such as ‘Dragon Ball‘ and ‘Saint Seiya‘ on television and Japan had been on my wish list since I was little. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But thanks to photos on Facebook, my guidebook and check-ins on Swarm (Foursquare), I can reconstruct parts of that trip.
A major site on Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path is Ginkaku-ji. The ‘Temple of the Silver Pavilion‘, officially named Jishō-ji (‘Temple of Shining Mercy’), is a Zen temple in the Sakyo ward of Kyoto. It is one of the constructions that represents the Higashiyama Culture of the Muromachi period.
Ashikaga Yoshimasa initiated plans for creating a retirement villa and gardens as early as 1460; and after his death, Yoshimasa would arrange for this property to become a Zen temple. The temple is today associated with the Shokoku-ji branch of Rinzai Zen.
The two-storied Kannon-den is the main temple structure. Its construction began in 1482. The structure’s design sought to emulate the golden Kinkaku-ji which had been commissioned by his grandfather Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It is popularly known as the Silver Pavilion because of the initial plans to cover its exterior in silver foil; but this familiar nickname dates back only as far as the Edo period (1600–1868). The covering in silver never happened.
The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it. Like Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shōgun.
In 1485, shōgun Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk. After his death in 1490 the villa and gardens became a Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after Yoshimasa’s Buddhist name.
The garden is a sight in itself.
In addition to the temple’s famous building, the property features wooded grounds covered with a variety of mosses. This Japanese garden was supposedly designed by landscape artist Sōami.
Ginkakuji was constructed in relation to its surroundings. The sand garden of Ginkaku-ji has become particularly well known; and the carefully formed pile of sand which is said to symbolize Mount Fuji is an essential element in the garden.
2013 Japan Family Trip
- JAPAN 2013 | Solo in Tokyo.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Ueno Park and the Shibuya Crossing.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Sensō-ji, Hamarikyu Gardens and the Imperial Palace East Gardens.
- JAPAN 2013 | Meiji Shrine and Harakuju in Tokyo.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza, Zōjō-ji Temple, Tokyo Tower and traditional restaurant Jomon in Roppongi.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo – Hakone by train.
- JAPAN 2013 | Hakone Yumoto – Lake Ashi – Owakudani.
- JAPAN 2013 | Hakone Yumoto Onsen Tenseien.
- JAPAN 2013 | Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path and Anraku-ji Temple.