Sunday, March 15, 2009

Item From the Past: Ginkakuji

In March 1994, my mother came to visit me in Osaka. I'm glad she came for a look-around. As far as I know, that was her first trip abroad since the 1950s. She'd been busy, of course, raising her children in the following decades. She was one of three visitors I had from the U.S. in the four years I lived in Japan, or four visitors counting a friend who'd previously lived in Japan, and on those occasions I took the opportunity to see things as a visitor would.

In the smaller picture, we're at the Ginkakuji, also known in English as the Silver Pavilion, in Kyoto, one of the most famed temples in the country, and for good reason. For sheer aesthetics -- buildings, gardens, grounds -- it's hard to beat. Even better, not a lot of other people were around in mid-March. I'd previously visited the grounds in the summer, when it was much more crowded. notes: "In 1482, shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple. A few years later, the Silver Pavilion, modeled after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), was constructed. Plans to cover the pavilion in silver were never realized. The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa's death in 1490." Much more about the place is here.

The larger image is the Silver Pavilion without us obstructing the view. It isn't the best image I've seen of the Ginkakuji, but it's the only one I ever took.

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