As one of Kyoto’s most spectacular temples, Ginkakuji is a magical place that you cannot afford to miss. From beautiful gardens to the perfectly sculpted cone of sand, a walk through the grounds will become an unforgettable experience. Also known as the Silver Pavilion, you’ll notice the temple isn’t really silver in colour. The name is said to derive from how moonlight was reflected off the lacquered wood. Another story is that the Shogun who commissioned the construction of this building for a villa planned the residence to be covered in silver foil. However, this never happened and his death leads to the conversion of this structure into a temple.
From a tourist perspective, the Silver Pavilion offers everything that is desired in a temple. The gardens, atmosphere, architecture and uniqueness are what separates Ginkakuji from Kyoto’s other 1,600 temples. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to deal with a lot of crowds. I recommend visiting near open and close, ensuring you can get the best chance of taking awesome pictures.
How to get to Ginkakuji:
The best way to reach Ginkakuji is by using the Keihan subway line. You have the option of walking or taking a cab from Demachiyanagi or transferring to Mototanaka Station which a little bit closer to the Silver Pavilion. In addition, the temple is located along the picturesque Philosopher’s Path. You have the option of starting at the south end of this walk and eventually, make your way to the entrance of Ginkakuji.