Kyoto Sights Reviews
Sep 21, 2005
Rokuon-ji Temple – The golden pavilion
Originally built in the 1390’s, Rukuon-ji temple is the most famous pavilion in Japan. The pavilion is 3 stories tall and sets on a pond. It is covered in gold leaf and is an amazing sight when the sun reflects off of the gold. Walk along the surrounding trails to explore the park.
This complex really looks like a palace more than a castle. Built of wood and ornately decorated it housed the shogun and later the emperors. You can explore the rooms inside after taking off your shoes and putting on some booties. It was a very interesting way of life. Very different from our western standards. Open air rooms with little to no furniture. They pulled out mats and whatever else was needed for the occasion. The most interesting thing about this castle was the floor. They were made of wood and when you walked on them they made a creaking noise. This was done on purpose, as the shogun was paranoid about being attacked by his enemies. The creaking floor acted as a warning device for the shoguns bodyguards.
The surrounding gardens are also very impressive.
This is a large complex of temples and structures on the side of the mountain overlooking Kyoto below. These Buddhist temples are the most spectacular that I have seen. The architecture is so natural. Ornate carved structures that seem to melt into the surrounding mountains and trees. The jishu shrine is behind the main hall and is home to the god of matchmaking. Also on the grounds are two love stones. It is said that if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed your desires will be granted. I failed miserably. The stones are a good 30-ft away from each other.
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