It’s three weeks since I got back from Japan and only now am I getting around to really look at the photographs I have taken there. Since I got back we’ve been working on completely renovating and landscaping the back garden to make it more maintenance friendly. This has meant, clearing borders, laying weed matting and shifting two tons of delivered chip stones from the from the front garden to the back. Decking stripped clean and freshly stained. Doesn’t sound a lot but it’s been hard work. So finally I’ve got a little time to sit in front of the computer.

Ginkaku-ji, is a Zen temple situated along Kyoto‘s eastern mountains (Higashiyama). whose name literally means “Temple of the Silver Pavilion”.

Silver Pavillion

Work started on building the temple, commissioned by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa, in 1482. This was to be his retirement villa, modelled after the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), built by his grandfather on at the base of Kyoto’s northern mountains (Kitayama). I’ll have a post later about the Golden Pavilion, probably next week.

You cannot enter the pavilion but one side is open for you to get a view inside.

Room With A View

My next photograph shows some of the maintained dry sand garden, which is known as the “Sea of Silver Sand”. In the background you can just see a massive sand cone which has the rather strange name of  “Moon Viewing Platform”.

How do they do it? First of all, those parallel lines are drawn on a bank of sand which is about a half metre high, how does that keep it’s shape. Secondly, how do they draw the lines in the sand and keep them exactly parallel. without disturbing the sand which is perfectly flat. And what about that cone? It’s not small and not a grain of sand out-of-place. Amazing, utterly amazing.

Silver Sands

Next to the sand garden is the Hondo, or Main Hall, which has paintings on it’s sliding doors. It’s just a shame that you cannot see inside the Hondo, but I suppose it’s to protect the inside of the building.


There is one other building in the gardens and it sits right next to the Hondo. It’s the Togudo Temple which dates back to the temple’s foundation.


Wandering around the gardens allows you to get different views of the pavilion and I’ll leave you with these.

Silver Pavillion

Simple, but stunningly beautiful.
The Gardens

Well that’s it. I hope you enjoyed the photographs – Mike

23 replies to “Gingaku-ji

    1. I just wish I had more time at the moment. This garden is a project we’ve put off for some time and with the good weather we’ve got at the moment it seemed ideal time to get on with it

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    1. I wish. there were loads of tourists there Dan, but with careful positioning of the camera and waiting for gaps I managed to get most of the photographs without people in them. But if you look at the second last one, right hand side, gaps in the trees you can see people walking


  1. The temples are quite beautiful. They have bee preserved very well and look to be in excellent condition The grounds are astoundingly beautiful. I like how the Japanese use water to enhance the landscaping. Are there koi in the ponds? The sand landscaping is very much a work of art. I can’t figure out how that is maintained unless the sand is has been made hard and thus does not shift. I should look that up. Photos are excellent.

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    1. If only they were calm Cornelia. This is supposed to be a Zen garden but it was really busy with people. I just managed to hide them by careful positioning of the camera

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    1. The day we visited Kyoto it was really busy Alison. We went to the Bamboo Forest, Golden Temple, Silver Pavilion and Gion to see the studio geisha’s. I really did want to go to the Torre Gates as well but just knew that I would be frustrated trying to get a decent photograph. There were just too many people about. So in the end we gave it a miss and headed back to Hiroshima.

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      1. There’s so much to do and see in Kyoto it’s nuts. I’m glad I had a few days there. I did get to the tori gates, fairly early in the day, and got some good shots.


    1. I’ve got more to come Arv, from all the places I visited whilst I was in Japan. But the garden project is keeping me really busy at the moment.


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