Ginkaku-ji, known as the silver pavilion, was built in 1482 by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa. It was modeled after his grandfather’s Kinkakuji, or Golden Pavilion. Although originally a villa, it was converted into a Zen temple following Ashikaga’s death in 1490.
The Silver Pavilion was never actually covered in silver. It retains that name as a way of comparing it to the Golden Pavilion.
One of the first sites one sees after entering the temple and viewing the pavilion is the sand garden, known as the “Sea of Silver Sand.” Within this garden is a very large sand cone named “Moon Viewing Platform.”
There is also an extensive moss garden and a pathway with a circular route that allows one to view the complex from many different vantage points. At one point along the trail’s higher elevation, there is a wonderful view of the temple complex with Kyoto in the background.