The Silver Pavilion (or Ginkaku-ji) is the not-quite-as-popular little sister to the Golden Pavilion, located in Kyoto, Japan. Personally, I actually prefer the Silver Pavilion, as it’s a lot more relaxed and serene, plus you can generally spend more time there as well – and not moved on as quickly as you would at the Golden.
The Silver Pavilion is located in Kyoto’s Eastern Mountain area of Nigashiyama. The Silver Pavilion is easily accessible from the heart of Kyoto. Your first option is to take Bus 5, 17 or 100 from Kyoto Station and that will take about 40mins. Your other option is to walk along the Philosopher’s Path from Nanzenji Temple, but that will take you just as long as the bus, but on foot.
The original Silver Pavilion begun construction in 1482, however, there have been many restorations over the years, but for the most part, it is the original buildings. Also, despite it being called the “Silver Pavilion”, it is not Silver like the Golden Pavilion is gold. This is because the Shogun who initiated it’s plans – Ashikaga Yoshimasa – had planned for it to be covered in a silver foil overlay, however it never came to fruition. Instead, it was left as it is seen today, as that’s how it looked the last time that Yoshimasa saw it before his death.
ADMISSION AND OPENING TIMES
Ginkakuji is open everyday of the year, however, the opening times will vary on the season. During Summer, opening hours are 8.30am to 5pm, however, over winter the hours are 9am to 4.30pm. Admission cost is the same all year round, coming in at 500 Yen (about $6AUD) per person.
Ginkakuji isn’t like the Golden Pavilion, where I would go early to avoid the crowds, as traffic is more spread out over the day. But it is incredible relaxing as dusk is settling in at the end of a long day!
The Silver Pavilion is by far my favourite place to relax and feel serene in Kyoto. I’d highly recommend going there in early morning or late afternoon to give yourself the best chance to experience it as empty as possible. But don’t just take my word for it, suss out some of my favourite pictures
Have you had the chance to visit the Silver Pavilion? What is your best tip for when to visit?