Kyoto, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:48PM
The Golden Pavillion
Kinkakuji is perhaps the most famous view in Kyoto.
Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion, is a a Zen temple of which the top two floors are covered in gold leaf. The first floor is built from natural wood and plaster. The temple was originally built as a retirement villa of a shogun, but became a Zen Temple in the 15th century. Ginkakuji, or the Silver Pavillion (which does not have a silver building) was built across the city and inspired by Kinkakuji.
The temple is at the base of a large pond, and the pond reflect's the gold temple on sunny days. Originally the temple was part of an entire complex built for the shogun, but throughout history the buildings were destroyed. Kinkakuji itself has burned down more than once, most recently in 1950 when it was set on fire by an extremist monk and was rebuilt five years later.
Unfortunately, the inside of the temple is not open to visitors, but the garden and pond surrounding the temple are particularly scenic, and a circular path leads visitors around the ground. The gardens are said to have kept their original design from the 15th century. There is also a teahouse on the ground, called the Sekkatei Teahouse.