Silver Pavilion Temple (Ginkaku-ji Jisho-ji)

Zen sand garden, Jisho-ji map, Ginkaku-ji map, Temple of Silver Pavilion Map, Classical Japanese garden, zen buddhist garden, zen buddhist sand sculpture, Japanese sand sculpture, Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach, Kyoto Shrine, Kyoto Temple

View towards Kannon-den and Kogetsudai at Silver Pavilion Temple in Kyoto. Silver Pavilion Temple is a Japanese Shinot temple practicing Riznzai Zen Buddhism. photography by Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach.

Kyoto is home to sixteen World Heritage sites. One of Kyoto’s most popular UNESCO sites, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, is a shrine known by many names. Translated Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion Temple’s more formal name is Jisho-ji, a Buddhist temple practicing Rinzai Zen.

Ginkaku-ji, or the Silver Pavilion, typifies what many Westerners think of for the classical combination of Japanese architecture and landscape with Zen Buddhism form and structure. The beauty of the grounds to its environs has made the Temple one of the photographers’ favorites.

Seeds for the Silver Pavilion were sown in family heritage two generations prior with Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. In what is considered the classical age for Japanese garden design, Yoshimitsu built the Temple of Golden Pavilion during the Muromachi period. Great emphasis was taken creating a harmony and scale between the buildings and their distinct setting.

Two generations later, the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490) desired to create a retirement villa that would become a Zen temple after his death. The Silver Pavilion was intended to be a commemoration of the Golden Pavilion and eventually covered in silver. Construction began in the 1460s. Not too soon after the Ōnin War (1467-1477) started.

Without an heir to take on the title of Shogun, Yoshimasa selected his brother to assume the title upon his death. In 1465, Yoshimasa and his wife had a son. After the birth, Yoshimasa selected his son to assume his title. Within two years, the two sides had fractured in opposing factions, one seeking power and the other attempting to maintain it.

During the war, Kyoto turned into violent upheaval, most of it laid to ashes. At some point during the war, construction came to a standstill.

Yoshimasa abdicated his title in 1473 to his son. The following year, Yoshimasa stepped aside from politics and decided to continue construction on the Silver Temple. At that point forward, Yoshimasa dedicated his life to development of the Temple and the finer things in life. He would eventually develop the tea ceremony into a high art form.

While Yoshimasa would eventually build out numerous building on the grounds, he never completed the intended facing of the Temple in silver leafing. In 1484, he made the Ginkakuji home.

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photography Jim Caldwell Redondo Beach
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