Kyoto's Golden Pavillion
The Golden Pavillion, or Kinkaku as it is popularly known, is one of the main buildings of the Rokuon-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. It began it's existence in the 1220's as the villa of Kintsune Saionji.
Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun of the Ashikaga Bafuku, abdicated the throne in 1394. After three years, he began to build what was to be known as Kitayamaden. He made a special effort to make it a breath-taking site. He indulged in his peaceful life in this serene setting. After Yoshimitsu's death, Kitayamaden was made into a Zen temple in accordance with his will. All the buildings of those days came to ruin except Kinkaku. The garden, however, remains as it was in former days and can be enjoyed as it was hundreds of years ago. Rokuon-ji Temple was inscribed as a World Cutural Heritage in 1994.
Kinkaku was formally called Shariden. The elegant, harmonious building consists of three types of architecture. The 1st floor is Shinden-zukuri, the palace style. It is named Ho-sui-in. The 2nd floor is Buke-zukuri, the style of the samurai house and is called Cho-on-do. The 3rd floor is Karayo style or Zen temple style. It is called Kukkyo-cho
Both the 2nd and 3rd floors are covered with gold-leaf on Japanese lacquer. The roof, upon which the Chinese phoenix settles, is thatched with shingles. Recently, the coating of Japanese lacquer was found a little decayed and a new coating as well as gilding with gold-leaf, much thicker than the original ones.
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