Sand Sculptures at Kyoto’s Silver Pavilion Temple
The Golden Pavilion and its “ moon-viewing platform ” conical sand sculpture Kyoto Japan, November 2013 -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
The Golden Pavilion
and its moon-viewing platform conical sand sculpture
Kyoto Japan, November 2013

Last fall I visited the Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺, the silver pavilion) in north-east Kyoto. It's named for a building that was intended to be coated in silver leaf (comparable to how the golden pavilion is coated in gold leaf). Apparently they never got around to actually applying the silver, but the name stuck.

As it is today, the temple is noted for its sculptured sand, including a huge Mt. Fuji shaped cone.

Entrance Stone Garden -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/200 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Stone Garden
Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

The minor entrance stone garden is not particularly special, with similar features easily found at other temples. But the main garden raises the level considerably...

desktop background image of the sculpted sand in the garden at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 — 1/500 sec, f/1.6, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
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Perfect -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Perfect

There's also a curvy/wavy raised sand feature that's better seen from above...

Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos

I suppose it's supposed to evoke the sea or water or something, but I'm not sure.

Curved Edge a couple of feet tall -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Curved Edge
a couple of feet tall
desktop background image of the sculpted sand in the garden at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/400 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Desktop-Background Versions
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Edge Detail -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/2000 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Edge Detail

I'd love to know how they construct these, and how often. I imagine that the sand is quite hard packed, but we've had some monumentally torrential rains of late that dump a month's worth of rain in an hour, so I wonder how these sculptures hold up. I looked around on YouTube and found these three videos, which give some insight.

A path leads through a more-traditional garden and up the mountain a bit, to give the nice from-above view we saw before.

desktop background image of a garden path at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Garden Path -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/400 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Garden Path
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“ Moody Trees ” -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/500 sec, f/2.5, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Moody Trees

The focal point in this photo is unrelated to the focus point, which may be really annoying to some. Compare to these shots of similar trees at the Heian Shrine.

Wide View from Above -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/1250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Wide View from Above
desktop background image of a slope of rich moss at the Silver Pavilion, Kyoto Japan (銀閣寺) -- Mossy Slope -- Ginkakuji Temple (銀閣寺) -- Copyright 2013 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24mm f/1.4 — 1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 100 — map & image datanearby photos
Mossy Slope
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