Kyoto One

Daitokuji, founded in 1319, is a Zen Temple complex
with 24 sub-temples and some beautiful Sumi-e paintings.

Ginkakuji was built as the retirement villa for the 8th Shogun.
It houses the Silver Pavilion and magnificent Sand Gardens.

Kinkakuji contains the famous Golden Pavilion, built as the
retirement villa for the 3rd Ashikaga Shogun in 1397.

Daitokuji            Ginkakuji            Kinkakuji


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, and Kinkakuji are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Kyoto Temples 1
Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera



Daitokuji is the head temple of the Rinzai sect Daitoku school of Zen Buddhism,
and is considered one of the best places in Japan to experience Zen. It is configured
as a sort of temple village, with 24 sub-temples in an enormous temple complex.

Daitokuji originated as a small monastery founded in 1319 on Ryuhozan, Kyoto
(Dragon Treasure Mountain) by the famous Zen monk and calligrapher Daito Kokushi.
It was mostly destroyed by fires during the Onin War (1467-77), and was rebuilt
in the 15th century by the generosity of merchants of Sakai, Osaka.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi buried Oda Nobunaga at Daitokuji after
he was betrayed by Akechi. The temple later became linked to
Sen no Rikyu and Kobori Enshu, Masters of the Tea Ceremony.

Many of these images were taken in the sub-temple Ryogen-in.
Some images (those with smaller text) were created from the full-sized
images (available on Photoshelter). Most have larger text as they were
created specifically for the Japan web-portfolio presentation.


Daitokuji Sumi-e 9285

In the Sumi-e style (ink paintings).
When done on sliding doors (fusuma) it is called Fusuma-e.

There are many rooms in the sub-temples with Sumi-e (ink) paintings on doors
and screens. Some are by famous artists, such as Mokkei (a 13th c. Chinese monk,
also spelled Mu-qi and Mu-chi) who was very influential on the Japanese painting style
in the Muromachi period and later. His style of brushwork inspired the paintings seen here.

Kano Shoei and his son, Kano Eitoku (both very renowned 16th c. painters of the Kano School)
did quite a bit of work at Daitokuji  (much of it in Zuihoin and Jukoin). The style above looks similar,
and it’s possible that it was done by one of the Kano family, but so far I cannot find information.


Daitokuji 9285 detail

The two left screens cropped and corrected for perspective, at 1515 x 1050.


Daitokuji Hakuzosu 9295 (Ryogen-in)

In 1960, a merchant in Osaka was having business problems and went to a fortune teller to get his opinion. The fortune teller asked him if he had a screen with a fox, and said that the fox was a zen apprentice and wanted to learn. The man found the screen in storage and went to Kyoto to find a temple to donate it to. When they came to Ryogen-in, they could walk no further, deciding that this must be the place. The monk who met them told them that they had a reception room named The Room of the Fox, and accepted it, placing the screen in that room.


Daitokuji Hakuzosu 9295 detail

Hakuzodzu Byobu by Shonen Suzuki (19th c.)
(Fox Pretending to be a Monk)

a large detail crop (732 x 1270)


Daitokuji Dragon 9287

This Sumi-e of a Dragon has been attributed to Bokkei (15th c.).


Daitokuji Sumi-e 9289

This fusuma-e has probably been here
for quite some time... it is very faded.


Daitokuji 9294

A folding screen is the centerpiece of this room.


Ryogen-in Rock Garden 9297

Totekiko is Japan’s smallest Rock Garden. It’s about 15 feet long x 4 feet wide.


Daitokuji Garden Ishidoro 9303

A small garden alongside the Ryogen-in temple.
The path leads to the Karamon gate Genkan
(an Important Cultural Property). Beyond the
Genkan is the garden in the next image.


Daitokuji Isshidan 9283

Isshidan garden with Kame-jima (turtle island).
The rocks in the center rear are Horai-san, the
mountain where spiritually awakened people live.
The rocks at the far right are Crane Island.


Daitokuji Isshidan 9284

Ryogen-in’s Isshidan was designed by Katsudo to replace an ancient tree that died in 1980.


Daitokuji Shoro 9313

The Shoro (bell tower) of Daitokuji, shot  from over the wall.

At right is the Butsuden (Buddha Hall and Hondo Main Hall), an Important Cultural Property. Note the curved sides of the Katomado (bell-shaped windows) of the Butsuden in the image at right. The Katomado of the Hatto and Kaiso-do are shown in the four images below. These windows were original parts of Zen Temples from the time they were introduced to Japan from China. The older style used the straight-sides and gradually evolved into the curved-sided windows.


Daitokuji Butsuden 9306


Daitokuji Hatto 9308

The Hatto (Lecture Hall, Dharma Hall) uses the older-style Katomado (bell-shaped windows) with the straight sides.


Daitokuji Hatto Katomado 9309


Daitokuji Ryogen-in Kaiso-do 9292

Kaiso-do (Founder’s Hall) at Ryogen-in sub-temple also
uses the older-style, straight-sided Katomado windows.


Daitokuji Ryogen-in Kaiso-do Katomado 9292


Daitokuji Sanmon 9304

The Sanmon (Mountain Gate), is also called Sangedatsumon(the Three Gates one must pass through to attain a state of Enlightenment). Begun after the Onin War (1467-1477), but only the first level was completed in 1529.


Daitokuji Sanmon 9305

The famous tea master Sen no Rikyu, who became closely
associated with Daitokuji in the 1580s, built the upper level
 in 1589 and installed a statue of himself. This act allegedly
angered Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who forced Rikyu’s suicide.


Wall God 9315

Just outside Daitokuji, rounding the corner of a wall
we came upon these fellows embedded in the wall.
On the right is Ebisu, god of fishermen, luck, workers,
and guardian of the health of small children. The fellow
above is just scary. I’m not sure which god he represents.


Ebisu Wall God 9316

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, and Kinkakuji are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Kyoto Temples 1
Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera



Ginkakuji was built as the retirement villa for Ashikaga Yoshimasa, 8th Shogun of the
Ashikaga Shogunate, which reigned during the Muromachi period (1336-1573). His reign
was from 1449-1473, ending within the period of the Onin wars, which started the Sengoku
(Warring States) period. Ginkakuji means Silver Pavilion... he originally planned to cover the
exterior with silver foil to emulate his grandfather’s Golden Pavilion (next section), but the
outbreak of the Onin War halted the construction, and before the plan could be realized,
Yoshimasa had died. He arranged for the villa to become a temple upon his death.

Considered the epitome of the Higashiyama culture in the Muromachi period,
Ginkakuji originally had 12 buildings, but after several fires only 3 remain:
Kannon Hall (Ginkaku), Hondo (Main Hall) and Togudo (Buddha Hall).

During Yoshimasa’s lifetime it was called Higashiyama Palace.
The temple name now is Tozan Jisho-ji, and it resides in the
gentle hills called Higashiyama (the Eastern mountains).

The Chisen-Kaiyushiki (strolling gardens) were
designed by the landscape architect, Soami.
The Philosopher’s Path passes by the gate.


Ginkakuji 9666

The Ginkaku (Silver Pavilion), originally intended to be covered with silver foil.
Due to the Onin War, the construction was halted, and the plan was never realized
before the death of Ashikaga Yoshimasa. The appearance is as Yoshimasa last saw it.


Ginkakuji 9649


Ginkakuji Hachiman Dai Bosatsu
Mini Shrine 9648

A small shrine next to Ginkaku dedicated to
the Shinto deity Hachiman, patron deity of the
Minamoto clan and of the warrior class.

Atop the Ginkaku (and the Kinkaku further below), you can see the Hou-ou (or Ho-o),
a mythical Phoenix-like bird which was adopted by the Japanese from China. According to
the Chinese (and Japanese) legend, the Hou-ou appears very rarely, and then only to herald the
arrival of a new era. It nests in Paulownia trees, hides from danger, and is both a symbol of peace
(when the Hou-ou appears) and disharmony (when it disappears). In China it is known as Feng Huang
(Feng is the male and Huang is the female). It can be seen in many guises on several of the Japan pages.


Ueno Park Phoenix 7490

A close shot of another Hou-ou atop a building just outside the Ueno Park Toshogu Shrine.

It has the head of a Golden Pheasant, neck of a Snake, body of a Mandarin Duck, tail of a Peacock,
legs of a Crane, mouth of a Parrot, and... well, you get the idea. It’s sort of a Rube Goldberg bird.

Two more shots of this Hou-ou are on the Assorted Shrines page.

We rejoin our show at the beginning of the famous Sand Garden:



Ginkakuji Kogetsudai 9650

Kogetsudai = Moon viewing podium

This two meter truncated cone of sand is part of the karesansui (dry garden), the Zen sand garden
which is called Ginshadan or Sea of Silver Sand, and it is designed to be a representation of Mt. Fuji.


Ginkakuji Ginshadan 9653
(Ginshadan, or Sea of Silver Sand)

The Sand Garden is designed to reflect the sun and moonlight onto the ceiling of Ginkakuji.
The pattern is intended to represent the sea in areas where the wind and current is strong.


Ginkakuji Ginshadan 9654

gin = silver; sha = sand;
dan = nada = sea with strong wind and rapid current.


Ginkakuji Ginshadan 9656

Ginkaku is in the background right, and
the Kogetsudai is in front of the pavilion.


Ginkakuji 9657

Kinkyo-chi (Brocade Mirror) pond, Ginkaku at right.
There are two small islands (Crane and Turtle Islands)
both symbols of longevity. Each of the rocks has a name.
The large stone in the center is “Ecstatic Contemplation”.


Ginkakuji Togudo 9658
(Hall of the Eastern Quest)

Togudo, built in 1486, is a National Treasure.
Togudo has the earliest Shoin-zukuri architecture
(the basis for modern traditional houses).


Ginkakuji Sengetsu-sen 9660

Miniature waterfall (rock at bottom is 8” high)
Sengetsu-sen = moon watching falls


Ginkakuji Benzaiten Shrine 9661

A mini-shrine to Benzaiten, goddess of music, poetry
learning and art and one of Japan’s seven lucky deities.


Ginkakuji View 9663

The view of Ginkaku (left), the temple buildings, and Kyoto in the distance
from the top of the hill above the chisen-kaiyushiki (strolling gardens).

Yoshimasa’s son Yoshihisa died in battle at the age of 24 in 1489.
Grieving for his son, he had the character Dai created on the hillside
behind the position this photo was taken from. A fire ditch was dug and
at the Bon festival for the dead that year it was filled with pine kindling and lit.
This is the origin of the term “bonfire” and the origin of the custom of lighting the
Dai that still appears on the hill just above Ginkakuji every August 16th to this day.


Ginkakuji View 9662

Another angle showing the entire temple complex to the right of Ginshadan,
(seen at the bottom left of the image), and the city of Kyoto in the baclground.

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, and Kinkakuji are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Kyoto Temples 1
Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera



Kinkakuji (formally Rokuonji, or Deer Garden Temple) in Kyoto was originally built as a
retirement villa by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (Yoshimasa’s grandfather) in 1397. It
was burned twice during the Onin War (1467-77), during which Yoshimasa was planning and
building his Silver Pavilion. It was burned again in 1950 by a mad monk and rebuilt in 1955.

The top two stories of the Pavilion are covered in pure gold leaf. A Chinese Phoenix sits
atop the peak of the roof. The design is a blend of Heian-era Shinden residential mansions
and Zen Buddhist styles. The first floor is a single large room with a large verandah, The 2nd
floor is in the Samurai house style, and contains a statue of Bodhisattva Kannon. The 3rd floor
is built in Zen style and houses an Amida triad and 25 Bodhisattvas. it is set within a large
garden with two ponds, with a waterfall between them, and a tea house plus several
temple buildings (after Yoshimitsu’s death it was converted into a Zen temple).

The reflection of the Pavilion off the waters of Kyoko-chi (Mirror) pond is enthralling.


Kinkakuji 9255

Kinkakuji was originally a villa owned by Saionji Kintsune named Kitayama-dai
(the name Kitayama refers to the mountainous area in the northwest part of Kyoto).
Yoshimitsu bought it in 1397 from the Saionji family after he abdicated the Shogunate.
In 1400, he started to build Kinkaku, designed to be his Buddhist Paradise on earth.
Part of a larger complex at his Kitayama villa, Kinkaku was the relic hall (Shariden).
It is now part of the Rokuonji temple complex (Rokuon (Deer Park) was the site
of the first sermon of Shakyamuni (the historical Buddha) after enlightenment).


Kinkakuji 9260

The first floor is Shinden-zukuri style (the aristocratic mansions in 10th c. Kyoto were built
in this style, which has no walls on the outer sides, but encloses the area with wooden shutters.
When the shutters are opened the interior and exterior (verandah) become one continuous space).

The second floor is Shoin-zukuri style (developed in the Momoyama period from the Heian
Shinden-zukuri, this style has a core area with surrounding aisles, separated by sliding doors).
This style is also called Buke-zukuri (samurai style) as it was popular for warrior mansions.

The third floor is Zenshu Butsuden style. This is a traditional Chinese Chan style brought over
with Zen Buddhism by the Japanese priest Eisai in the 12th c., who brought Rinzai Zen along with
green tea to Japan. The Kara-Hafu style of gable (and Karamon gates) are part of this style.
It is similar in style to Buddha Halls (Butsuden) in Zen temples (e.g. Engakuji’s Shariden).


Kinkakuji 9270

Kyoko-chi pond is the only remaining part of the
original Kitayama-dai created by Saionji Kintsune
c. 1220. Saionji Kintsune was part of the Fujiwara
clan who ran Japan during the Kamakura period,
and was so powerful he surpassed the regent. He
built a complex described by contemporaries as
resembling the Realm of the Taoist Immortals. The
Kamakura period ended, so did Saionji influence.


Kinkakuji 9272

Yoshimitsu devoted most of his attention to
the Relics Hall. Kinkaku had a Shakyamuni
triad installed on the first floor, a Kannon image
on the second, and sacred relics on the third. He
strongly promoted trade with Ming China, and he
entertained Ming envoys at his Kitayama complex,
allowing Yoshimitsu to assemble many important
cultural artifacts from China, which formed what
later became known as the Kitayama culture.


Kinkakuji 9267

In 1408, after assembling the Golden Pavilion and its collection of artifacts,
Yoshimitsu held a magnificent ceremony at Kinkaku to host the Imperial visit
by Emperor Gokomatsu (r. 1392-1412), a major event still talked about today.

The present version of Kinkaku dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt after the
22-year old monk Hayashi Yoken burned it down in 1950. The lacquer was found
to be decaying in 1984, and a new coating of lacquer along with a much thicker layer
of gold leaf (five times thicker) was applied to the top two stories at a cost of $5 million.
The original only had the top story gilded, but the design had called for both top stories to
be gilded (the Shogun could not gild both), so the new version is more faithful to the design.


Kinkakuji Fencing 9273

The stone steps leading to Tiger’s Gorge Bridge
(Kokeikyo, a grand name for a small stone bridge)
and Anmintaku (below) are flanked by a bamboo
fence in a style now known as Kinkakuji fencing.


Kinkakuji Lantern 9279

The Ishidoro (stone lantern) outside the
tiny (but ancient) Shin-un Shrine made for a
very attractive scene in my opinion. After seeing
thousands of stone lanterns, this scene stood out.


Kinkakuji Hakuja no Tzuka 9275

Islet in Anmintaku (Tranquility) pond (also known as Ushitaku or Bountaku). It never dried up, even during a drought, and it was used as a place to pray for rain.

The five-element stone stupa (an ancient form of pagoda) named Hakuja-no-Tzuka (White Snake Mound), is thought to have been a tutelary shrine of the Saionji family. The pond itself dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when the Saionji family owned the property (or earlier).


Kinkakuji Sekkatei Teahouse 9276

The Sekkatei (Favorable Sunset) three-mat Teahouse was created by the Tea Ceremony connoisseur Kanemori Sowa for retired Emperor Gomizunoo who had built his Shugakuin Rikkyu villa at the top of this hill). The name refers to the magnificent view of the setting sun reflecting off Kinkaku that can be seen from this spot.

The pillar left of the Tokonoma display is Nandina (Nanten, known as Heavenly Bamboo). This tearoom is very famous.


Kinkakuji Sekkatei Teahouse 9280

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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the Japan Collections page where a Gallery can be selected.


There are 21 Galleries in the Photoshelter Japan Collection
— Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, and Kinkakuji are in the following Gallery (Direct Link) —

Japan: Kyoto Temples 1
Daitokuji, Ginkakuji, Kinkakuji, Kiyomizudera


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