Despite its name, the Silver Pavilion was never covered in silver (in contrast to the famous golden pavilion).
Instead, it is believed that the name arose as a nickname. Alternatively, it is explained that moon light reflecting on the building’s dark exterior (which used to be covered in black lacquer in the past) gave it a silvery appearance. Silver or no silver it is a beautiful place and the garden is amazing. As apposed to the golden pavilion there was lots of space (we went there early) and we had it almost all to ourselves. Such a zen and absolutely beautiful way to spend our morning.
Next to the pavilion is an expansive, dry sand garden, known as the “Sea of Silver Sand”, with a massive sand cone named “Moon Viewing Platform”.
After passing by the Togudo, the walking path then takes you through Ginkakuji’s moss garden (only in Japan…), which features ponds with islands and bridges, little streams and various plants. The path climbs a hill behind the buildings from where there are nice views of the entire temple grounds and the city beyond.
The little street leading up to the pavilion and grounds has lots of small shops where you can buy coffee, ice cream, souvenirs. It also has (second shop to the left) a talented calligrapher, who offers to write your name in Japanese. So we did, the girls had each theirs and we got one with our family name, Hee Bune, as well. The woman, who runs the shop, doesn’t have set prices, but you can donate what you want. We gave her 10 euros per name.