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銀閣寺に月を思う/Think of The Moon at Silver Pavilion


The other day, we visited Ginkakuji Temple, or known as Silver Pavilion with students who learn Japanese language. The theme of the tour was the moon and Japanese culture.

銀閣寺/ Ginkakuji


First of all before starting the tour, the guide asked everybody to remember one Kanji letter "月" (the moon). This Chinese character was the key to the tour, and Silver Pavilion has several places named with this letter.

通訳案内士/ English tour guide


We started our topic with the mountain called Tsukimachiyama, or the moon waiting mountain. Literally, the mountain is located in the east, where the moon rises. The east and the moon are often associated with renewal or rebirth in Japanese culture.

通訳案内士/ English tour guide


When we came just in front of the building, I (guide) said that the owner in the past were maybe also waiting for the moon from the very same spot. The students might feel in the same way as him.

通訳案内士/ English tour guide


Later on, we talked about the owner and his grandfather, who both were shogun, that is the leader of all samurai. And also about that this Ginkakuji Temple (Silver Pavilion) is in a unique area which was originally a cemetery.


The owner is known as Yoshimasa (義政), the 8th shogun of Ashikaga family. His childhood name was Yoshishige(義成). Notice 成 changed into 政 here. This means he wants to be a great politician, as 政 means politics. However, he couldn't control his government enough, and caused Onin War, fought from 1467 till 1478, which was the most terrible civil war happened in Kyoto.


Perhaps he was jealous of his grandfather, who was the greatest 3rd shogun. Thinking of his life, Yoshimasa might have lived a painful life. He might have wished a better life, while viewing the moon rising from the east.


I was very happy to hear they enjoyed with this theme, not just looking at the scenery and architecture. Have a great stay in Japan and improve your Japanese!

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