Kyoto Part III

I am totally failing at my goal of getting caught up to the present with my posts. I’m just too busy during the week. Oh well.

On Saturday, December 2nd, I visited Kyoto for the third weekend in a row, grasping at the last remaining scraps of autumn. I got an early start, determined to beat the worst of the crowds for my first stop: Kinkaku-ji, the famous Temple of the Golden Pavilion.


Kinkaku-ji was built in 1397 as the retirement villa of Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, whose grandson later built the Silver Pavilion. It became a Zen temple upon Yoshimitsu’s death, as per his will.

Here’s a closer look from the other side.


I just noticed the gilded rain gutters. That’s thoroughness. Anyway, as I was about to write before getting distracted, the three floors each represent different architectural styles. The first floor is in Heian period (794-1185) aristocratic style, the second floor is like a samurai house, and the third floor is modeled after a Chinese Zen Buddha Hall. A Chinese phoenix is on the roof.

The inside of the Pavilion isn’t open to the public, but I got these pictures of the interior from the head temple’s website.

The first floor has a statue of the historical Buddha, with Yoshimitsu to the left.


The second floor contains Kannon, bodhisattva of compassion, guarded by the Four Heavenly Kings.


The third floor is called the Superb Apex.


I’d have loved to go inside, but it’s understandable that it’s off-limits.

Well, I’ve only covered what I did in the morning, but I need to go to bed, so I’ll just put this up now and get to the rest of the trip in my next post. Until then.


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3 Responses to “Kyoto Part III”

  1. Nicole Says:

    I especially loved the first and last pictures. The gold glow is really something and the third floor is breathtaking. Who does get to go inside? Thanks, Kevin, for giving us another snippet!!

  2. The Drunken Vandal Says:

    Wow Kinkaku-ji is beautiful. It looks very relaxing. Glad to see you ventured out again as your pics make me jelous…our winter has been bonkers over here.

    Do you think you will be able to stay longer then planned or go back for another round?

    Can we get some pics of yoru daily surroundings…subway, market, etc? :)

    Take care.

  3. kevinjames Says:

    I presume that monks maintain the inside of the building. It’s possible that they also perform meditation/prayer ceremonies on the first floor (privately), since the picture shows the usual gear laid out – mat, bell, incense bowl, etc. But I don’t know how often laypeople are allowed inside.

    Re: staying, I’ve applied for a second year with the JET Program, if that’s what you’re asking about. Two years total is what I have in mind. And of course, I’ll tell everyone when I find out whether or not I’ll get to re-contract.

    I’ve been meaning to do an introduction of the neighborhood and daily life, but I don’t have all the pictures I want. I guess I’ll just have to put up what I have now and show other scenes whenever I take more pictures, since at the rate I’m going, it’ll be summer again before I can make a complete guide.

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