Confessions of A Simple Traveler

Gold Pavilion Profile

Gold Pavilion Profile

The Golden Pavilion / Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto

Rest assured, if you enjoy a well-kept garden, architectural history and bright and shiny things, I’ve got the perfect place for you. When all the authorities gather together to name those sites you must see before you die, I don’t believe the Temple of the Golden Pavilion / Kinkaku-ji usually crosses their minds. And maybe it’s not exactly a must see, but if you visit Kyoto, in the second largest metropolis of Japan, you’re almost guaranteed to pay a visit, and as well you should.

Garden design is often associated with zen buddhism, Japanese cultur

Gold Pavilion Mirror Pond Island

Gold Pavilion Mirror Pond Island

e and even sometimes clichéd characters in fi lm, such as the case of Karate Kid. This does not negate the stylistic art form that it is. Kinkaku is a part, albeit bright and centrally eye-catching, of the compound that has been in a process of restoration from its original form dated in 1397. The three-story structure sits out on a pond that creates a photogenic balance with the refl ection of it as well as lighting. As if it couldn’t be more perfect, it is aptly named Mirror Pond / Kyōko-chi.

The garden grounds are soothing to traverse, with a narrative, illustrated with the deliberate positioning of each detail. Zen experts can debate on the exact references, but you get the feeling from how the rocks, plants and even the small dotting islands in the pond create a sense of harmony between heaven and earth. Just walking through is an escape from the chaos of urbanity. A better heavenly stroll is diffi cult for me to imagine.

I would recommend going early in the day, or at least not be in a rush so you can enjoy the breaks in the crowd waves that fl ow through. Doing this will give you time to enjoy this living artwork and to refl ect on your own insides and outsides.

Gold Pavilion on Mirror Pond

Gold Pavilion on Mirror Pond

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