The garden of the Golden Pavilion is a type of Japanese garden which is called as “Chisen Kaiyushiki Teien, a stroke-style garden around a big pond. The big pond in front of the Golden Pavilion is called as 鏡湖池(Kyo-ko-chi) means “Mirror Pond”. It reflects the golden pavilion in its water beautifully when it is a fine day.
And the mountain behind the Golden pavilion is used as shakkei(borrowed scenery). 借景(Shakkei) is a gardening technique, the scenery outside of the garden is utilized not just as background but as the essential parts of the structure of the garden, make it look like the mountains behind are part of the Garden.
There is a big island with pine trees and rock arrangement and stone lantern in middle of the mirror pond(kyo-ko-chi). This island is called as Ashihara-jima, which is designed based on the ancient Chinese ideology, 神仙思想 “Shinsen ideology”. It is believed that there is a place called 蓬萊 (Horai) where 仙人(Sennin) , a legendary wizard, living in the mountains who has a supernatural power and eternal youth.
方丈(HOJO – Main Hall)：The building at the west side is called “Hojo”, Hojo is generally the main hall for Zen Buddhism Temple. This Hojo was contributed by the Emperor Gomizuo to reconstruct in 1678. The Kannon Bodhisattva is enshrined.
陸舟の松 (Rikushu-no-Matsu) : The Bonsai pine tree planted 600 years ago! by the 3rd of Ashikaga Shogun, Yoshimitsu. This bonsai pine tree shaped like a ship with a sail, heading to west, the Buddhist paradise.
銀河泉(GingaSen): It is a little spring place called Silver River Spring, where Yoshimitsu took the water from here for tea
巖下水 (GankaSui) Yoshimitsu use water here for washing hands.
Dragon Gate Waterfall
It is named after the ancient Chinese story “登竜門” – “Tou Ryu Mon” which is about the curp will climb up the waterfall and it will turn into Dragon. Dragon is a symbol of Success, it is a gateway to Success. That’s why 鯉魚石(Rigyoseki) “curp shaped stone” is placed at the basin of a waterfall.
安民沢 (An-Min-Taku) Go up a hill to the north, there is another pond which is the remnants of the former owner of this place, Noble Saionji family’s villa. There is a stone mound placed in the middle of pond, named as 白蛇の塚 (Hakujya-no-Tsuka) which literally means white snake mound. It is a Saionji family’s shrine.
White Snake is believed to be the god of fortune and water. And this pond actually never run out of water.
夕-佳-亭(Sek-ka-tei) Sunset-Beautiful-Tea room. At about sunset, looking west from here, you could enjoy beautiful sunset view with the shining Golden Paviliion. Date back to Edo era, 17th century, the head priest of the temple asked the famous tea master, Kanamori Souwa, to build tea ceremony room to welcome the visit of the retired emperor, Gomizuo.
It was burned down at Meiji era, present room was reconstructed at 1874.
Mt. Fuji shaped wash basin.
This stone wash basin(Chouzu-bachi) is just in front of Sekkatei, people wash hands before they go into tea room.
It was treasured by the 8th of Ashikaga Shogun, Yoshimasa who was a grand-son of Yoshimitsu(the 3rd of Shogun). The 8th, Yoshimasa is famous for Silver Pavilion temple he built at Higashiyama(East Mountain). It is said that Yoshimasa often visited the Golden Pavilion for reference.
貴人榻 (Kijin-Tou), Nobleman chair
The Nobleman chair stone set at next to Sekkatei. This low stone chair is used for high class people, nobleman.
Kinkakuji Fudo Gama-Chasho
Golden Pavilion Fudo-pot tea place.
Tea house close to Fudo-do hall, next to souvenir shop. You can enjoy the green macha tea with a small piece of Japanese sweet which has little gold foil on it. It’s 500 Yen. You can have it either outside or inside the house.
Fudo(immovable, firm, hall)
The Fudo-hall was there at the previous time of the premises, when this villa was built by Noble Saionji family. The Fudo hall went to ruin after the death of Yoshimitsu, but late 16th century, the feudal lord, Ukita Hideike reconstructed.
There is a hidden Buddha statue enshrined inside, named as 不動明王立像 (Fudo Myo-o Ryuzo).
Fudo(Immovable) Myo-o(Bright King)Ryuzo(Standing Statue). Fudo Myo-o is one of the god comes from esoteric Buddhism. He has a face with anger and hold the sword at one hand, he will force bad people to give in with anger, and he will always protect good people.