Golden Pavilion Temple is located in Kyoto Japan, also named as Kinkakuji in Japanese language. This was constructed in 1397, initially it was meant to be served as a villa for retirement for Shogun Ashikaga. This was later converted to Zen Temple of Rinzai school by his son, the temple was also named as Rokuonji. The temple was burned many times during the Onin War and later in 1950 a fanatic monk set fire to the temple. There is a book written on this by the name The Temple of Golden Pavilion, which is fictionalized version of the events by Yukio Mishima.
Kinkakuji was built for Shogun Yoshimitsu Ashikaga as a post retirement home, he intended to cover the exterior with gold, but he was able to coat only the third floor ceiling with gold leaf. Though severe famine and earthquake as well as an epidemic of plague rampaged Kyoto, taking lives of many people, the Shogun lived here in lavish luxury.
The present Temple was made in 1955 which was rebuilt as per the original style and design, both the upper floors were covered with in gold leaf as per the intentions of Ashikaga. Further in 1987, the temple was again covered with gold leaf almost five times thicker than the original coat. Some of the interiors of the temple were restructured in 2003.
The main portion of the temple is the Golden Pavilion located in the garden at the edge of the lake, the Pavilion extends partially over the pond and the beautiful reflection of the temple in the calm water is a picturesque and lovely sight. The layout suggests a position between heaven and earth.
There are three stories surrounded by balconies, and this is made of wood. The upper two floors are totally covered with shining golden leaf. On a bright sunny day the visitors may require to put on sunglasses, as the bright sunlight makes it difficult to look at with naked eyes. There are relics of Buddha kept here, which makes the monument immensely valuable.
The first floor of the pavilion called Housiin known as Temple of Dharma Water is associated with 11th century Heian nobility, the walls are only half of the height so as to permit plenty of light and good ventilation of fresh air inside the room.
The second floor is known as Choondo the Tower of Sound Waves or as in local language “Grotto of Wave Sound”. The statue of Kannon is kept here. This floor is built in buke style of samurai houses.
Third floor of this temple is made in the style of the Buddha Hall in any Zen temple, this is known as Kukkyocho. There are round windows here and are richly ornamented better than the other floors. There are 25 Bodhisattvas and an Amida triad housed in this floor. There is a golden Chinese phoenix on the top of the roof, the visitors can see a typical Chinese architectural style on this floor.
The entire temple is surrounded by a lovely garden with a beautiful pond in the front. This pond is called Mirror Pond, and the stones in this pond give an image representation of the Buddhist era. This is one of the most popular buildings in Japan and a strong attraction amongst the tourists. It is designated as National Special Historic Site and a National Special Landscape. It is also included in the list of the 17 locations of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto World Heritage Site.