The temple was rebuilt with a thicker coating of pure gold leaf in 1955. It's now one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions. It's also amongst the most photogenic buildings in the World.
GardenGinkaku-ji sits in a tranquil Japanese zen walking garden. When the light is right the temple reflects in the large garden pond (Kyoto-chi pond).
The grounds are designed to illustrate the harmony of heaven and earth as described in ancient Buddhist texts. The four large stones at the center of the pond represent the four main islands of Japan.
The garden features a small waterfall.
There are some small Buddhas in the garden.
Tea HouseThere's a small Japanese tea house in the garden around Kinkaku-ji.
Tea Service is occasionally offered to tourists outside the tea house — complete with a gold leaf decorated Zen snack.
HistoryKinkaku-ji (1397) was the villa of a powerful Shogun (Ashikaga Yoshimitsu). Upon his death it was converted to a Zen temple as per his wishes.
The real name of the temple is Rokuon-ji. The name Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 - gold pavilion temple) has been the popular name for the temple for centuries.
Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu's son built a temple that is architecturally similar to Kinkaku-ji. It's called Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺 - silver pavilion temple).