For those who have been thinking,

「What kind of place is Ginkaku-ji?」

「I plan on going to Ginkaku-ji!」

then this article is for you!

Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information you need in order to  further enjoy Japan!

What we, the information brokers of Japan, would like to introduce to you in this article is the tourist destination in Kyoto that is recognized as a national treasure, Ginkaku-ji!

Now let’s get right into it!

Basic Info About Ginkaku-ji!

Did you know that the official name of Ginkaku-ji isn’t Ginkaku-ji? It is actually “Jisho-ji・Kannon-den”.

Ginkaku-ji was made by the 8th shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

There is another temple with a name that is similar to Ginkaku-ji, which is Kinkaku-ji, so be sure not to confuse the two.

There must also be many more people who are more interested in Kinkaku-ji than Ginkaku-ji.

Compared to Ginkaku-ji, Kinkaku-ji also charms more people with its beautiful shiny gold appearance.

However, while Kinkaku-ji isn’t recognized as a national treasure, Ginkaku-ji is!

Doesn’t this make you want to know why Ginkaku-ji has become a World Heritage instead of Kinkaku-ji?

The History Of Ginkaku-ji


During 1473, when Ashikaga Yoshimasa gave his position of Shogun to his son, Ashikaga Yoshimune, he also went into retirement.

During his retirement, he also built Ginkaku-ji.

It is said that Ginkaku-ji was completed in 1490 and is known as the representative of Higashiyama culture created by the 8th shogun of the Muromachi shogunate, Ashikaga Yoshimasa.

It is said that part of the reason Ashikaga Yoshimasa built Ginkaku-ji is with Kinkaku-ji, which was built by his grandfather, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.

However, before he could see it Ginkaku-ji completed, Ashikaga Yoshimasa passed away. After he passed, Ginkaku-ji was changed into a branch temple of Shokoku-ji and got the name Jisho-ji.

That is the reason why the official name of Ginkaku-ji is “Jisho-ji・Kannon-den”. It is said that after Ashikaga Yoshimasa died, the Muromachi shogunate was becoming weaker, and the hold over Ginkaku-ji was being lost, but because of the help from the Edo shogunate during the Edo period, it still stands today.

After that, Ginkaku-ji was on the brink of decaying due to the Haibutsu Kishaku, it was able to be successfully rebuilt and was recognized as a World Heritage in 1994 as the “Cultural Asset of Old Kyoto”.

The Charm And Highlights Of Ginkakuji

Ginkakuji is usually compared to Kinkaku-ji.

Kinkaku-ji is usually the one that people want to go to before Ginkaku-ji, but there are actually more people who repeatedly go to Ginkaku-ji.

In this part, we will explain the charm and highlights of Ginkaku-ji that makes people want to come back again.

You Can Feel The “Wabi Sabi”

What can’t be ignored about contemporary Japanese culture is the philosophy of “Wabi・Sabi”.

Without this philosophy of “Wabi Sabi”, the greatness from tea ceremonies, flower arrangements, entertainment as a whole, and even construction will be lost.

One place where you can see and feel this philosophy is the representative of Higashiyama culture, Ginkaku-ji.

The Togudo of Ginkaku-ji is where you can especially feel the philosophy of Wabi Sabi in how it is constructed. It is said to be the oldest study to be made.

The Togudo houses what was Yoshimasa’s personal four and a half mat sized study called the Dojinzai. It is known as the originator to current tea rooms and as such, is a valuable building.

It is usually closed off to the public, but there is a time when it is specially opened so why not come to visit?

The Garden That Is Recognized As The Countries Scenic Beauty

Ashikaga Yoshimasa is famous as a person that is versed in a wide  range of culture.

The garden made by the cultured man that he is, is located behind Ginkaku-ji.

The garden is centered around a large lake and it has man-made mountains, bridges, and islands. It is also recognized as the countries scenic beauty.

The「Ocha-no-I」That Yoshimasa Loved

The spring, called the “Ocha-no-I”, that Ashikaga Yoshimasa used when making tea, at the time, is still there. The spring is even used currently when a tea ceremony is held as well.

Why not drink the tea that uses the same water from the same spring that Ashikaga Yoshimasa used?

Facility Info


    • Address:2 GinkakujichōSakyō-ku, Kyoto, 606-8402
    • Telephone Number:075-771-5725
    • Business Hours:8:30-17:00
    • Official Homepage:Ginkaku-ji