The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Gardening in Japan, 1912
Chapter: Chapter1. History

Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion in Kyoto

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The garden of Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavilion, in Kioto, is well-known on account of its interesting historical associations. Long neglect has converted what was once an elaborate artificial landscape into a wild natural scene of great beauty. The plantations of coniferous trees have the appearance of uncultivated woods, and the pine-clad islets have become island wildernesses. A few references to the principal features of this garden, as first arranged for the Regent Yoshimitsu, will give some idea of its original design. The lake, called Kioko, or the Mirror Ocean, represented the Sea of Japan, and contained three islands adorned with rare rocks and pine trees intended to suggest the land of Nippon. The name of the "Thousand Dragons' Gate" was given to the waterfall supplying the lake, which was backed by a high natural hill fancifully called "Silken Canopy Mountain." In one spot was a mossy nook from which welled up a natural spring of the purest water, described as the "Silver Spring." In addition to the principal three-storied pavilion,� internally loaded with the richest gilding,�there existed other garden structures, such as the "Lake View Arbour," and the "House of the Sound of the Sea Shore."