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Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), not to be confused with Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion; both are UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto), is set up against the eastern mountains. Most tours go to Kinkakuji, because it’s close to Ryoanji, but the Kinkakuji was burned down in 1950 by a student monk (Yukio Mishima wrote a novel about this), so even with all the gold leaf, and even though it reflects nicely in the pond, it lacks Ginkakuji’s gravitas. The original idea was to cover the building in silver leaf, but it never happened, so its beauty is much more subtle than Kinkakuji’s, too. Ginkakuji has a small structure on its grounds, the Togudo, which contains the room that is the template for tea-ceremony rooms throughout Japan, which is gorgeous and likely to be quiet enough to enjoy.

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