Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavilion was the retirement villa of Ashikaga Yoshimitsu who was a shogun during the Edo period. It was dedicated to becoming a zen temple after his death in 1408, according to his will.
Built during the time of the samurai, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s retirement villa was called Rokuonji at the time and is currently the only building that remains of Yoshimitsu’s retirement complex.
The Different Architectural Styles
Kinkakuji was built overlooking a massive pond. The original structure was burnt down many times during the course of history including twice in the Onin Civil War and again in the 1950s. The structure that stands today was rebuilt in 1955.
Built during the opulent Kitayama culture when indulgence bled into Kyoto’s architecture, every floor in Kinkakuji has a very different style.
The first floor of the villa was built using Shinden influence that was famous during the Heian Period with natural wood pillars and white plaster on the walls. Yoshimitsu kept Buddhist statues on the first floor. The pavilion is closed to the public if you are visiting from one of the nearby Kyoto serviced apartments, but you can see them from above.
The second floor is Bukke style and the uppermost floor was designed in Chinese Zen hall style. Both floors are gilded out and inside.
The gardens are beautifully landscaped and have inspired local resorts like Citadines Karasuma-Gojo Kyoto. If you go through the gardens you will arrive at an old-style teahouse where you can try some traditional sweets with matcha tea.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+