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The Golden Pavilion is one of the most well known ancient buildings in Japan. It is one of only 17 sites of Ancient Kyoto Historic Monuments. It is listed as one of UNESCO's Heritage Sites of the World. It is currently a temple of Zen Buddhists in Kyoto, Japan. In Japanese, the temple is referred to as Kinkaku-ji which literally translates to "Golden Pavilion Temple".
Though initially a villa referred to as Kitayama-dai and owned by the powerful and influential statesman, Saionji Kitsune, the Golden Pavilion Japan was converted into the Kinkaku-ji complex after it was purchased from the Saionjis by the Shogun (military governor) Yoshimitsu Ashikaga. Yoshimitsu had intended to have an exterior clad with gold but only managed to have the third floor ceiling covered with gold leaf. After Yoshimitsu's death, his son, in accordance with Yoshimitsu's wishes, converted the Kinkaku-ji into the Zen Temple of the school of the Rinzai named the Rokuonji which literally translates into "Temple of the Deer Garden."
Conversion of villas into Temples was a well established norm as most of temples of Kyoto were former villas of retirement.
The Golden Pavilion Japan is centrally located and it's reflected superbly in the calm waters. This arguably makes it one of the attractive sites in Japan and deservedly attracts a myriad of visitors annually. The exquisite Garden design is a hallmark of the Muromachi design period which was specifically characterized by its emphasis on correlation between a building and its settings. More specifically, the Muromachi design era sought to artistically integrate a structure or building within its landscape.
The Kinkaku-ji, in its long history, has been incinerated down several times during the Onin war. In 1950, a psychotic monk initiate burned down the Golden Pavilion. He was detained and sentenced to 7 years in prison although he was later pardoned due to cases of mental illness. The temple as it stands today was rebuilt in 1955 and it remained true to the original concept design. However in this modern incarnation, the two upper storeys were covered in gold leaf hence fulfilling the initial wishes of Shogun Yoshimitsu. A gold leaf coat, thicker than the original, fivefold, was applied in 1987.
Situated within landscaped gardens and reflective ponds, the golden Pavilion Japan will surely remain one of the most breathtaking sites anywhere in years to come.
Todaiji temple is a Japanese Buddhist temple that was founded in early eighth century by an emperor known as Shomu. It was once considered to be among the seven most powerful great temples located in the city of Nara. It is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site as a historic monument. The great Buddha hall is found here and it is home to the world’s largest bronze statue of Buddha. It also acts as headquarters to the school of Buddhism known as Kegon.
This temple was first built in honor of the firstborn son of emperor Shomu who was called prince Motoi. It was later appointed as the central administrative temple for all the temples in the other provinces. As years went by, Todaiji’s role as the centralized authority started to decline because the country’s capital was moved. This led to a decline in the number of ceremonies held and eventually none was held there anymore. There have been occasions where it has tried to be revived but to no avail.
Over the years this temple has been rebuilt. The great Buddha hall has been rebuilt twice most recently in 1709. Other parts such as the southern gate, the great Buddha statue have been reconstructed since they had been destroyed by earthquakes, typhoons etc. This building has always been the largest wooden building until recently when modern buildings have taken the lead. The structures around the temple are considered part of it and some of them are open to the public.
There is also the Todaiji culture center that was opened in 2011 that showcases the different types of artifacts that were originally found in the temple. It also has a library and a research facility that enables one to know the history of such a monumental piece of history and everything inside it.