More properly called Jishō-ji, the Silver Pavilion was, like the similarly named Golden Pavilion, built as a retirement villa and only later converted into a Zen temple.

During its time as a residence in the late 15th century, Ginkaku-ji was, again like the Golden Pavilion a century earlier, the very heart of aesthetic Kyoto, playing an important part in the development of tea ceremony and flower arranging culture.

The garden contains one of Japan’s most famous pond gardens, modelled on the older Zen pond garden at Kyoto’s Saihō-ji temple. Though for the most part an informal Zen garden, formal elements of raked gravel and a conical moon viewing hill are also present.