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The gold, the glitter, the perfect mirrored reflection in the pond, its beauty enhanced from every angle by a classical Japanese garden, trimmed vegetation, flowing branches – judging by how mobbed it is at any time of day, its fame is self explanatory. Kinkaku-ji, a amalgam of three architectural styles, one for each level, is built of wood under that shimmering golden façade. And like all wooden buildings, the preferred construction element in Japanese buildings (less reliance on stone as in other parts of the world), it is vulnerable to fire and has been its victim many times, the last in 1955 being also the most interesting as the fire was set by a novice monk suffering from mental illness. It was both a cultural and costly loss and yet eventually the society found the ability to forgive and understand an act little controlled and released the culprit from prison. It is a hard decision and many nations would be less forgiving, so it is impressive that the Japanese courts and possibly public opinion was willing to accept the loss and not continue down a punitive but little justified path. Interestingly, the gold leaf that now gilds the building in heavier layers than originally (overall the reconstructions tend to stay true to the first design) was used as mode to purify one of negative thoughts towards death. Well, with all the stunning reflection in the surrounding pond and the location within gorgeous gardens it sure mesmerizes and traps one in the moment, most certainly oblivious to the ephemerality of one’s existence. #Japan  #Kinkakuji  #japantravel  #kyoto  #buddhism  #temple  #UNESCO  #Rokuonji  #templeofthegoldenpavilion  #deergardentemple  #historicmonuments  #japanesegardens  #muromachi  #shakkei  #zen  #passionpassaport  #travelphotography  #natgeotravel