- December 08 2015
It Was the Best Timing! Viewing The Red Japanese Maple Trees and Kinkakuji (Rokuonji) in Kyoto
This is KOKORO MOYOU. I’d like to share some information about Kyoto.
Today, I am going to introduce the autumn leaf viewing at Kinakuji Temple, located in Kinkakuji-Cho in Kita Ward of Kyoto city.
We visited the temple on November 16th, 2014. All these pictures were taken on that day.
What Is Kinkakuji?
The real name of Kinkakuji is Rokuonji Temple. “Kinkaku”, the gold building you often see, is actually just a part of Rokuonji Temple, which is called “Shariden”. (In this article, we’ll call it Kinkakuji) Kinkakuji is registered as one of the World Heritage Sites, and it is one of the popular sightseeing spots in Kyoto, which attracts tourists from all over the world.
Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, the third general of the Muramachi Period, built a villa called Kitayamaden (current Kinkaku) in 1397, which was how this temple started. That is now what we call Kinkakuji. The name of the temple, Rokuonji, was named after Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s Hogo (a name given to those who enter the way of Buddhism), which was “Rokuonindon”.
After that, the Onin War, an extremely big civil war, broke out in 1467. This war lasted for 10 years, and it devastated Kinkakuji. However, it is said that the temple was successfully restored when a great monk, who the generals like Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Tokugawa Ieyasu relied on, became its priest.
The original Kinkaku was burned down because someone set fire to the temple in 1950. Many valuable statues of Buddha were lost when this happened. In 1955, the temple was rebuilt. In 1987, more renovations took place: the repainting of lacquer, repapering of the gold leaf, repair of the ceiling painting, and so on. Although the original Kinkakuji was registered as a Japan National Treasure, the current Kinkakuji is not.
(Reference: “Zouhoban Kyoto Kankou Bunka Kentei Shiken Koshiki Text Book”)
The Autumn Leaves on the Approach to the Temple Are Also Wonderful!
It is the view of the autumn leaves on the approach to Kinkakuji.
This is the bell tower with autumn leaves.
This is a shot of Funakataishi (a stone shaped like a ship) with autumn leaves.
Rikushu No Matsu
This is Rikushu No Matsu, one of the Big Three Kyoto Pine Trees. Because it is shaped like a ship, it is called “Land Ship Pine”. It is said that this pine tree was originally a bonsai of Yoshimitsu’s, the builder of this temple, which was transplanted here. Then it was designed to have the shape of a sailboat. The bow is facing the West.
Kinkakuji and Autumn Leaves
Finally, this is the famous Kinkaku (Shariden) and the autumn leaves.
Kinkaku consists of three layers. It is said that the first layer, Hosui-in, and the second layer, Chouon-do, have the same Japanese residential style, and the thirl layer, Kukkyouchou, is in the Zenshuyo temple style. The Kyoukochi Pond that reflects Kinkaku has this land part known as “dejima”, appearing from the West. There are famous stones like Kusen Hakkaiseki Stone in the pond.
How everything is reflected on the water is also beautiful.
This is Kyokochi Pond with autumn leaves.
Another view of Kinkaku.
Gold and red are a great match.
This is another shot of Kinkaku and the autumn leaves taken from a different location and angle.
Autumn Leaves at Their Best in the Garden of the Temple Grounds
These are the autumn leaves of the Temple Grounds.
This is a tea room called Sekka-tei, located on the temple grounds. The whole garden was selected as Japan’s Special Historical Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty. There is so much to see at this temple.
This is a view of Kinkaku from above.
How was it? Kinaku is always beautiful, but it looks even more elegant and magnificent when it is combined with Japanese Maple Trees, dyed in red. The vivid colors captured my eyes and my heart.
Please visit Kinkakuji in the fall as well as during other seasons.