A UNESCO World Heritage Site In Kyoto, Japan: Kinkaku-Ji (a.k.a The Temple Of The Golden Pavilion) 日本京都世界文化遗产之一, 金碧辉煌的金阁寺
Seeing a crowd of people flocking to a site in Japan is quite common, especially at famous sightseeing locations. As you travel the country you become used to this phenomenon, and come to expect it to occur when you’re at a famous place. Visiting Kinkaku-ji will feel very much the same, but what is to come at the end of the crowd is unlike any other sight in Japan.
The Temple of the Golden Pavilion in all its majesty is something you must see with your own eyes to believe. Even seeing it in person feels almost unreal, as if you are just viewing a famous painting for the first time. But it is so much more than just art, it is a piece of history that now simply rests in this peaceful pond in Kyoto.
Kinkaku-Ji, also known as The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is one of Japan’s most visited historic sites. This ancient Japan temple has remained an important Zen Buddhist temple for the past 600 years. However, due to an accident by a monk in the mid 1950s, the temple was burned to the ground. It has since been rebuilt with efforts to be an identical replica of the original. The temple remains a beautiful site to visit, in a very peaceful setting surrounded by forest and a large pond teaming with coy and other fish. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion is definitely worth a visit if in search of an incredible temple when travelling through Kyoto. In addition in 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with 16 other locations in Kyoto.
京都有上千个大大小小的寺庙城池，其中有17处被列入 “世界文化遗产”。但对观光旅遊而言，这17处还是有高下之分。如果清水寺是所向批靡的 ‘屠龙刀’，那唯一敢缨其锋的 ‘倚天剑’，绝对就是 ‘金阁寺’ 了。事实上，对我而言，金阁寺的名气可能还更大些。我是一年前才知道，京都的金阁寺原本并不是佛寺，是足利义满将军在 1937 年所建造的别庄北山殿。足利义满在位时，正是室町幕府的全盛时期，他特别将这里修建得富丽堂皇。义满将军死后，其子遵照他的遗言，将北山殿由宅邸用途改为禅寺，并以义满的法号命名为 “鹿苑寺”。因为它的金阁太过知名，后来反而是 “金阁寺” 这个名称比较被多数人所认识。
不管之前看过多少金阁寺的图片，第一眼看到本尊时还是会被那金光闪闪，华丽逼人的气势所镇摄。被 ‘镜湖池’ 所包围呵护的金阁，显得如此孤芳自赏，遗世独立。这个水池也隔绝了周围那一圈满满的观光客，任何人都可以很轻松地拍出满意的特写照。
金阁寺于1994年以 “古都京都的文化财” 的一部份被联合国指定为 “世界文化遗产” 的重要历史建筑。
Once you arrive and pass through the gates, though, the moment becomes surreal. You follow the path through dense woods, and feel as if you are far from civilization. Once you catch a glimpse of Kinkaku-ji’s beauty, it’s hard to look away. The temple sits alone on stilts by a large pond, and if you’re lucky you can see the white birds swimming by the lily pads in the warm sunlight. Despite any distractions, it’s easy to get lost in the moment taking in all there is to see.
It is perhaps the most widely-recognised image of Kyoto. Seen reflected in the adjoining "mirror pond" with its small islands of rock and pine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see.
The gold leaf walls and elegant sweeping roof of Kinkakuji’s reliquary reflects in the water of the temple’s stunning gardens, creating a dual image of wealth and tranquility. It has long been one of Japan’s most renowned cultural treasures and classic mirror photos – you’ll have to compete with throngs of domestic tourists unless you arrive early. However, whatever the season, time spent elsewhere in the garden will reward you with the most contemplative of Kyoto’s landscapes, and you’ll wish you could retire here.
The Golden Pavilion itself is beautiful and well worth the effort to see. The fact that it is set on a beautiful lake, surrounded by greenery and flowering plants only adds to it's beauty and serenity.
Adhering to the Japanese tradition of attaching meaning to every detail, especially in religious buildings, each of the 3 stories of Kinkaku-ji have a specific meaning to them and were designed in a unique style. Not to mention, the top two layers are plated with gold leaf. In short, the bottom level represents the Heian period, the second embodies the samurai warrior spirit in its details, and the third is the Zen floor. Each of these contains minute details that you can’t see by looking from the pathway, but add to its significance upon learning all of the features of the temple.
A phoenix crests the pavilion roof, one that indeed rose from the ashes after the original 550 year old building was burnt to the ground in 1950.
Though the gardens are superb, featuring a large pond with islands representing the landscape of the Buddhist creation myth, it is the Golden Pavilion itself that people come to see: gold plated and startling against the backdrop of trees. The pavilion, reflecting in the mirror lake, is justifiably one of the best known images of Japan, though the building itself is a recent though faithful reproduction of the 15th century original. Appearances aside, the Kinkakuji is an important Zen site, and the temple houses priceless Buddhist relics in its gold-plated pavilion.
Though the pavilion is not huge in size, people would be impressed at the first sight of brilliant golden walls of the building. The pavilion and its reflection on the water as well as islets and trees weave into a beauty and create a peaceful atmosphere.
The rear view of Kinkaku. The small structure attached to the pavilion is tsuridono (a fishing deck) that is called Sosei. A boat can be moored under it.
Rikushu-no-matsu, a-boat-on-the-ground pine.
Ryumon-baku (Ryumon-no-taki) waterfall. In the middle is Rigyo-seki that literally means a carp stone.
金阁寺北边有个小瀑布称为 “龙门瀑布”。在瀑布里有放一个石头，视作为鲤鱼，称为 “鲤鱼石”。龙门瀑布打在鲤鱼石上，印证了一句成语 “鲤鱼跃龙门”。游上瀑布则化为龙，游不上仍为鱼。鲤鱼石的头很尖，说是鲤鱼也满像的。
Candles of different wishes for visitors at the Fudo-do Temple.
Wherever you go in the world, you need to visit Japan. And wherever you go in Japan you should visit Kyoto; but wherever you go in Kyoto, you must visit Kinkaku-ji. I would have to say this is a must-see based on its beauty, history, and excitement for everyone.
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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