The Temple of the Golden Pavilion


Today is the day. We go to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji). Our first temple in Kyoto. This is the temple I read about when I was a teenager in the famous novel by Yukio Mishima.

The novel follows the protagonist, Mizoguchi, who feels alienated and insecure due to a stutter and a club foot. He becomes obsessed with the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, a beautiful temple that symbolises perfection and purity. Mizoguchi becomes a student at the temple and eventually burns it down in an act of rebellion. The novel explores themes of beauty and destruction. It is considered one of Mishima’s best works.

We follow the path towards the pond where the pavilion sits. I have the image in my mind that I built while reading the book, and in a few seconds, I will see the real one. The path turns right. Then to the left. Some trees and bushes only allow us to see a little further.

One last turn, and here we are. The pond and the Golden Pavilion are on the other side. It’s two floors golden. The smooth lines are immersed in the garden.

There is no wind. We hear some birds. It is still early, and just a few tourists are taking photos and walking around.

The image in front of me is like a painting where the artist has carefully through the details and harmony of the composition. A man-made representation of an ideal elegant reality that shapes the design of the building and the trees and nature surrounding it.

The Golden Pavilion, Kyoto 2011

The Golden Pavilion, Kyoto 2011