Ginkaku-ji Temple Highlights (Silver Pavilion,Togu-do)

Ginkaku-ji Temple Highlights

The information about Ginkaku-ji Temple Highlights is presented here. Ginkaku-ji Temple has a number of highlights, including Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku), Togu-do, and Garden, but Silver Pavilion and Garden are the two that must be seen. Compared to the glittering Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku), Silver Pavilion has a calm atmosphere. Silver Pavilion, along with Togu-do, is a building that represents the Higashiyama culture of the mid-Muromachi period. Garden is the only remaining structure among the many gardens created by Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

Ginkaku-ji Temple (location,history)

【Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku, 銀閣)】

Silver Pavilion (National Treasure) was built in 1489 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利義政), the 8th shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate. However, it is said that Ashikaga Yoshimasa died without seeing it completed. Silver Pavilion is a two-story wooden pavilion, the 1st floor in the residential style and the 2nd floor in the Zen Buddhist style. Ashikaga Yoshimasa named the 1st floor “Shinku-den” and the 2nd floor “Choon-kaku”. Silver Pavilion houses the statue of Kannon, also known as Dochu-Kannon, on the 2nd floor, and is also called Kannon-den (Kannon Hall ,観音殿). It is said that the name “Silver Pavilion” comes from the fact that it was supposed to be covered with silver leaf, but due to financial difficulties and the death of Ashikaga Yoshimasa, it could not be done, and also because the black lacquer on the outer wall seems to shine silver in the sunlight. Silver Pavilion is said to be one of the “Three Pavilions of Kyoto” along with Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion) at Kinkaku-ji Temple and Hiunkaku at Nishi Hongan-ji Temple.

【Togu-do (Togu Hall, 東求堂)】

Togu-do (National Treasure) was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1486. Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利義政) built Togu-do as Amida-do (Amida Hall ,阿弥陀堂) and houses the statue of Amida Nyorai, the leader of the Western Paradise. Togu-do was built before Silver Pavilion and is said to be the oldest residential structure. Togu-do has a four-and-a-half tatami-mat tea room, Dojinsai, which Ashikaga Yoshimasa used as a study.

【Garden (庭園)】

Garden (Special Place of Scenic Beauty and Special Historic Site) is said to have been created by Ashikaga Yoshimasa (足利義政) in the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), imitating the garden of Koke-dera Temple (Saiho-ji Temple), where women were not allowed, in order to show it to his mother, Hino Shigeko. Garden was later renovated during the Edo period (1603-1867) and is said to have lost its original appearance. Garden is a pond walking garden centered on Kinkyochi Pond. Garden is decorated with stones such as the Zazen-ishi stone, and has a stone bridge.

【Hojo (Main Hall, Hondo, 方丈, 本堂)】

Hojo (Kyoto City designated cultural property) is said to have been rebuilt during the Kanei period (1624-1644). Hojo houses the statue of Shakamunibutsu (Buddha). It also houses the memorial tablets of Ashikaga Yoshimasa and his wife, Hino Tomiko. Hojo is decorated with fusuma paintings painted by haiku poet and painter Yosa Buson and the literary painter and calligrapher Ike no Taiga.

【Ginshadan (銀沙灘) and Kogetsudai (向月台) 】

Ginshadan and Kogetsudai are said to have been created before the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573-1603) and expanded during restoration in the Edo period (1603-1868). Ginshadan is made of sand raised into a beautiful wave shape. Ginshadan is about 35-40 cm high. Kogetsudai is made of sand piled up in a beautiful Fujiyama (cone) shape. Kogetsudai is about 1.8 meters high, 3 meters at the base, and 1.2 meters at the top.

【Other Highlights】

★Sokunsen (相君泉) is said to have been used by Ashikaga Yoshimasa for the tea ceremony. Sokunsen is still used for tea ceremonies today. Sokunsen is also called Ochanoi.
★Tenbosho (observatory, 展望所) is located on a hill in the temple grounds. Tenbosho is said to have once built Chonen-tei. From Tenbosho, visitors can see the temple grounds beautifully decorated with autumn leaves during the autumn leaves season.

National treasures, important cultural properties, and other cultural assets may be closed to the public.
銀閣寺見どころ(Ginkaku-ji Temple Highlights)


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山