Kinkakuji: The Golden Pavilion Temple

(Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)

Kinkakuji — which means “Deer Garden Pavilion” — was built in 1397 as a retirement home for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. After the Shogun died in 1406, the pavilion became a Rinzai Zen temple. The original temple was destroyed later in the 15th century, and rebuilt.

A disturbed monk burned the temple to its foundations in 1950. The current structure was built in 1955. It is an exact copy of the previous temple, except that there is more gold leaf than before.

Kinkakuji’s primary function is as a shariden, which is something like a reliquary — inside are kept relics of the Buddha.*

I want to live here.

*Historic Temples of Japan: Kinkakuji (



Filed under Buddhism, Zen / Ch'an

5 responses to “Kinkakuji: The Golden Pavilion Temple

  1. ian

    I’d read about this in Mishima’s “Temple of the Golden Pavilion”, but hadn’t realized it was based on a real event. Awesome.

    And yes, I wouldn’t mind living there either. Think they’re accepting any novitiates? 😉

    • Jackson

      I’d love to think I could come up with some amazing reason why I should be allowed to move my wife and cats in to that place. Maybe someday… A guy can dream.

  2. What if you could place the Temple into your heart so that you could visit the home whenever you dwelt within?

    michael j

    at home in Conshohocken, PA USA

    • Jackson

      Now if only I could shink it enough to where it would fit… kidding 😉

      That is a very nice thought, Michael. Thank you.

  3. AJ

    I think Kinkakuji means Golden Pavilion Temple. 🙂

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