While in Kyoto, we chose to overlook the ostentatious Kinkakuji in favour of the sublime and in my opinion evermore harmonious Ginkakuji. We reached the temple grounds just before sunset when the buildings were gathering shadows about themselves, cavorting with the remains of sunlight.
Ginkakuji was originally built as a palace around 1482 and it came to serve as a temple in 1490. The building’s dark exterior was once covered in black lacquer and I can only imagine how magnificent this would have looked by sunset or indeed moonlight. I’m so disappointed that Ginkakuji is not open to the public at night. I dream of visiting by the light of a bright full moon to see the quartz imbued sand garden by moonlight. I imagine that it is spectacular.
Having survived many earthquakes and fires,the main buildings sit stoically silent in their dark-wood splendour and I felt immediately at ease here. There is something about Ginkakuji that strikes at the heart of the elusive meaning of “wabi-sabi” and my own personal interpretation of what is “beautiful” which makes this my favourite temple in Kyoto.