Places, Images, Times & Transformations


(Temple of the Golden Pavilion). Temple in Kita Ward, Kyoto, belonging to the Shōkokuji branch of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. Kinkakuji began as the estate of the third Muromachi shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (r 1369-95). After his death, the estate was converted into a temple in accordance with his last wishes. The temple was completely destroyed by arson in 1950—an event that provided the basis of Mishima Yukio's famous novel Kinkakuji, published in 1959. An exact reproduction of the building was completed in 1955. Kinkakuji is a gilded three-story structure and is considered one of the most beautiful structures in the world. (adapted from Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1993)

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