Kinkaku-ji shariden, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Ashihara Island, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto is one of my most favorite cities in the world. The effortlessness with which the old mixes with the new is astonishing. One of the most technologically, fashion forward countries in the world and yet in Kyoto it all slows down without losing it.
Kinkaku-ji, “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, officially named Rokuon-ji “Deer Garden Temple”, a Zen Buddhist temple and the first UNESCO World Heritage Site we saw in Kyoto.
The Golden Pavilion is a three-story building on the grounds of the Rokuon-ji temple complex with the top two stories of the pavilion covered with pure gold leaf thus making it one of the most visited and photogrpahed buildings in Kyoto. The pavilion functions as a shariden, housing relics of the Buddha (Buddha’s Ashes). Designated as both a National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape, and it is easy to understand why. The landscape is part of the Golden Pavilion and the Pavilion is part of the landscape.