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World Heritage / Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Criteria: (ii) (iv) | Date of Inscription: 1994 | Location: Kyoto and Shiga Prefectures | Justification for Inscription


Things to see

Jisho-ji (Ginkaku-ji)

Togudo (Togudo Buddha Hall)
Togudo (Togudo Buddha Hall)
Jisho-ji Temple belongs to the Sokoku-ji school of the Rinzai sect and is located in Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City. Its official name is "Jisho-ji Temple," but it is widely known as "Ginkaku-ji" (The Temple of the Silver Pavilion). Ginkaku-ji Temple embodies the style of the Higashiyama culture which flowered in the era of Ashikaga Yoshimasa. The Higashiyama culture is often compared with that of the Kitayama culture which developed in the era of the Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and Yoshimochi.
Ginkaku-ji Temple was first constructed in 1482 as a cottage by the 8th Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa of the Muromachi Government. Yoshimasa enjoyed art forms such as the tea ceremony and flower arrangement in his cottage and when he died in 1490 it was transformed into a Zen Buddhist temple to pray for the deceased founder.
Ginkaku is the kan-non den (kan-non hall) of Yoshimasa's cottage, the "Higashiyama den" and was constructed in 1489 to be used as his residence post retirement. The name, "Ginkaku" (Silver Pavilion), has been commonly used as a balance to "Kinkaku" (the Golden Pavilion) which was built by the 3rd Shogun Yoshimitsu yet some experts actually say that the silver foil intended for use at Ginkaku in the initial plan was canceled considering the financial situation of the government at the time. Construction wise however, it is built in the "Juso-hogyo-zukuri-kokera-buki" style. The first story, the "Shinku-den," was constructed in a residence form and the upper story, the "Cho-on-den" is the Buddhist temple hall; constructed in Chinese (Zen Buddhism) style.
Togudo (Togudo Buddha Hall)
The Togudo Buddha Hall was constructed to hold the Amidanyoraizo in 1486. The study room called the "Dojinsai" is the oldest existing room in Japan constructed in the Shoinzukuri style. To-gu-do Hall represents the style of Jodo worship and faces the Zen-Buddhism-style pond indicating that Yoshimasa tried to combine Jodo worship with Zen Buddhism. It is said Yoshimasa devoted himself to the arts by inviting famous artists such as a tea master to Togudo Hall.
The garden of Ginkaku-ji Temple is divided into two; an upper area and a lower area, the Karesansui-style garden and the pond-strolling-style garden. Produced by imitating Koke-dera Temple by Zen-ami and Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the Karesansui-style garden has two sand mounds called "Kogetsudai" and "Ginshadan" which individually or combined produce the effects necessary to make Ginkaku something special. As much as the Kogetsudai reflects the moonlight, the Ginshadan produces a unique view against the background of Ginkaku-ji Temple. This truly is a garden to symbolize the Higashiyama culture of the day.
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