Soul of the Garden

Images of Japan: Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

The Golden Pavilion

Kinkaku-ji, like Ginkaku-ji, served as the estate of a retired Shogun. The gold-leaf covered pavilion, a reconstruction of the fourteenth century original, floats serenely above a large pond that is among the most beautifully proportioned water features that I have ever seen. In the pond there is a small archipelago of artificial islands that are so perfectly composed of rocks, trees, moss, and iris that they truly evoke a kind of paradise.  The grounds are extensive and a nice strolling garden winds its way though the hills and woods behind the pavilion. Heavily influenced by the style of the Chinese Song Dynasty, Kinkaku-ji is an illustration of the  powerful influence that Chinese culture has had throughout East Asia. The Golden Pavilion one of Kyoto's most famous and popular landmarks, so, if you go go early to avoid the crowds. .

You understand the expression "the floating world" when you gaze at this scene.


The pond is bordered by carefully trained pines , iris, and shrubs.


One of the islands of the archipelago.


A vertical view with a cherry blooming in the distance.


Another island.


An artificial waterfall along the path in the strolling garden.


One of the paths in the strolling garden.


One of many stone pagodas that ornament the grounds.


This guy keeps showing up! He looks happy.


A wall running through the woods.


Tossing coins for good luck.


New foliage on a Japanese maple and wall detail.

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