Guide to Kansai Region

-The Golden pavilion- Rokuonji or Kinkakuji

 In the ancestral capital of Japan, the beautiful city of Kyoto, you can see a landscape like no other.
 The temple "Rokuon-ji" whose meaning is "Temple of the deer garden", better known by its informal name "Kinkaku-ji" the "Temple of the Golden Pavilion", is a Buddhist temple of the Zen type that was founded in  1397 as a resting village of the third shogun belonging to the muromachi era, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.  This shogun asked his son that when he died he would turn the villa into a Zen temple.
 Kinkakuji was built as a sample of the extravagant Kitayama culture that developed in the aristocratic circles of Kyoto during the time of the Yoshimitsu shogun.  Each floor represents a different style of architecture.
 The first floor was made in Shinden style used for palace buildings during the Heian Period.  With its natural wood pillars and white plaster walls contrasts, but, complements the golden upper floors of the pavilion.  The statues of Buddha Shaka (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored on the first floor.  Although it is not possible to enter the pavilion, the statues can be seen from the other side of the pond if you look closely, since the front windows of the first floor are generally kept open.
 The second floor was made in Bukke style used in samurai residences.  Its exterior is completely covered with gold leaf.  Inside there is a Bodhisattva Kannon, a Buddhist goddess of godliness, sitting surrounded by statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, four Buddhist deities that protect the four cardinal points;  however, the statues are not shown to the public.
 Finally, the third and highest floor was built in the style of a Chinese Zen Hall, is gilded inside and out, and is covered with a golden phoenix.
 Over the years, this temple has suffered several fires, the most recent being in 1950, caused by a monk from the same temple.  The enclosure was completely burned, but it was rebuilt in 1955 thanks to some plans that had been made in the Meiji period for restoration.  The plans faithfully portray the design made more than 500 years ago.
 The Rokuon-ji, along with the mirror pond that surrounds the entire temple, is one of Japan's most beautiful and iconic landscapes in any of the four seasons of the year.
 The Kinkaku-ji is a true work of art that goes beyond the earthly.  An indescribable beauty.

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