Kyoto is a splendid historical city!
Ginkaku-ji (Silver Pavilion) is a Zen temple. Model after the Golden Pavilion, it was constructed by Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482 and became a Zen temple in 1490. The plan of covering this temple with silver leaf in contrast to the Golden Pavilion was never realized.
Ginkakuji (originally called Kannonden) is two storied: the first floor is built in Shoin style, traditional Japanese residential architecture style, and the second floor is Chinese temple style. Unfortunately it was being restored when we visited it!
The elegant, harmonious building consists of three types of architecture. The first floor is the palace style. The second floor is the style of the samurai house. The third floor is Zen temple style. Both the 2nd and 3rd floors are covered with gold-leaf on Japanese lacquer. The roof, upon which the Chinese phoenix settles, is thatched with shingles.
Mana and I enjoying the tea ceremony.
Ryoan-ji (Rock Garden)
Laid out at the end of the 15th century, Ryoan-ji is acknowledged to be one of the masterpieces of Japanese culture.
Only 15 rocks and white gravel are used in this garden. The rocks placed as islands surrounded by waves of fine white gravel can never be viewed all at once from any position in the garden, but only in your quiet mind as Zen Buddhism advocates. This garden is thought as the quintessence of Zen art.
Tsukubai is the stone-wash basin for the tea room. Its inscription says :
"I learn only to be contented."
He who learns only to be contented is spiritually rich, while the one who does nit learn to be contented is spiritually poor even if he is materially wealthy. This concept is important in the Zen philosophy.