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.
The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune.
Kinkaku-ji’s history dates to 1397, when the villa was purchased from the Saionji family by shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex.
When Yoshimitsu died the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son. Golden.
During the Ōnin War (1467–1477), all of the buildings in the complex aside from the pavilion were burned down.
On 2 July 1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken, who then attempted suicide on the Daimon-ji hill behind the building. He survived, and was subsequently taken into custody. The monk was sentenced to seven years in prison, but was released because of mental illnesses (persecution complex and schizophrenia) on 29 September 1955; he died of tuberculosis in March 1956.
During the fire, the original statue of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was lost to the flames.
The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt.
The pavilion is three stories high, 12.5 meters (40 feet) in height. The reconstruction is said to be a copy close to the original, although some doubt such an extensive gold-leaf coating was used on the original structure.
In 1984 the coating of Japanese lacquer was found to be a little decayed and a new coating, as well as gilding with gold-leaf, much thicker than the original coatings (0.5 µm instead of 0.1 µm), was completed in 1987.
Additionally, the interior of the building, including the paintings and Yoshimitsu’s statue, were also restored. Finally, the roof was restored in 2003.
The name Kinkaku is derived from the gold leaf that the pavilion is covered in. Gold was an important addition to the pavilion because of its underlying meaning. The gold employed was intended to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death.
Other than the symbolic meaning behind the gold leaf, the Muromachi period heavily relied on visual excesses.
With the focus on the Golden Pavilion, the way that the structure is mainly covered in that material creates an impression that stands out because of the sunlight reflecting and the effect the reflection creates on the pond.
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.
- JAPAN 2013 | Kyoto’s Ginkaku-ji or Temple of the Silver Pavilion.
- JAPAN 2013 | Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.
- JAPAN 2013 | Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto.