The shariden at Rokuon-ji, or the Golden pavilion (Kinkaku -ji) has been destroyed twice, once during the Onin wars and again in 1950 by a monk of the temple who, putting it politely, had a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock. What we see today is really an echo of an echo. All that said, it is still magnificent in all it’s gold plated splendour. Look closely and you’ll see how the architecture changes as you ascend floor by floor, from shinden through samurai and finally to zen, not bad for a building that started out life as a retirement villa. The largest island in the lake represents Japan, and the whole is surrounded by a magnificent, running out of superlatives here, walk around garden with carefully planned views back over the garden and lake. All very zen. How to get there? Well we took the green Raku tourist bus from Kyoto station*.
*FYI if you’re in Kyoto for a couple of days it’s probably worthwhile getting a Kyoto city bus day pass at Kyoto station.