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Published on 06.29.2016
Like Andrew says in the video, if you are ever in Kyoto you simply HAVE to see Kinkakuji, or Japan's "Golden Pavillion". After Mt. Fuji, Kinkakuji is probably one of the most recognizable places in all of Japan. You've probably even seen it before on that postcard you got from your friend last year visiting Japan. It's really that iconic.
So what exactly is Kinkakuji? Originally built in 1397, Kinkakuji is a beautiful buddhist temple whose top two stories are completely covered in gold leaf. For people who are more into the architectural side of things, each story is designed in a different historical style. From the bottom to the top, Kinkakuji's architectural styles are: Shinden, Bukke, and Chinese Zen Hall, making it kind of a hodgepodge of cultural styles. However the true reason behind this mix of architectual styles is because it reflects the founder, Yoshimitsu Ashikaga's belief of the world's pecking order being: the Chinese Emperor on top, then the samurai, followed by Japanese nobility at the bottom. The temple was rebuilt, after being burnt down by a mad monk in the year 1950. There have been debates about how much of the gold leaf coating of the current version of Kinkakuji has been embellished compared to the original. The reason behind the gold leaf coating is to purify the temple from negative thoughts. It also has the practical benefit of protecting the temple from pollution, seeing as gold is resistant to things such as acid rain and corrosion.
The Temple sits on a lake, and its golden reflection shines beautiful in the water below. The exquisite gardens surrounding the temple are also breathtakingly beautiful. Kinkakuji is definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Japan.
Source: Happy in Japan (Youtube)