World Heritage-listed Golden Pavilion is currently covered up for repairs, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to see the building. 

Kinkakuji, or the “Golden Pavilion” as it’s commonly known, is one of Kyoto’s most popular sightseeing spots, drawing thousands of admiring visitors to its gleaming facade every year. Now, visitor numbers have dropped significantly due to the coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately, but there is a silver lining as it makes it the perfect time to carry out some much-needed repairs.

The gold-leaf gilded building, which was rebuilt in 1955 after an arson attack, has a history that dates back to 1398. The current repairs are to update the shingled roof, with work beginning on 1 September and completion scheduled for December this year.

While the repairs are taking place, the pavilion will be concealed by scaffolding, which presents a quandary for visitors coming to see the temple. To address this problem, management have installed a large panel with a photo of the building across the pond, where visitors usually gather to view the building.

So although the real temple may be obscured from view for now, travellers will still be able to see what it looks like…and get that photo op they’ve travelled so far for.

▼ This visitor says the panel looks like a 4K television screen.

While the low-tech solution to the problem might look odd from a distance, close-up photos of the panel show it’s actually incredibly effective.

The proportions of the building as it appears from this spot have been cleverly replicated, creating a surprisingly realistic perspective for those posing alongside it.

Sometimes, scaffolding at popular sites in Japan is adorned with an image, often of the building contained inside it.

▼ During repairs at Dogo Onsen in Shikoku.

However, as this photo of nearby Kiyomizudera temple shows, that’s not always the case.

▼ Kiyomizudera is currently undergoing repairs, and this is what it looks like right now.

The scaffolding at Kiyomizudera is an unsightly inconvenience for photographers, and without anything to spruce up the view, it’s not a great example of the level of customer service people expect to find in Japan. So the simple photo panel at Kinkakuji has warmed the hearts of people around the country, many of whom have never seen anything like it before, sending images of the panel viral on Twitter.

▼ This tweet received over 120,000 likes.

While the panel may seem like a small gesture of consolation, it’s one that’s generated a lot of interest.

“I feel like I must go to see this unusual Kinkakuji.”
“What a great idea – this panel is now a sightseeing destination in itself!”
“Well, they’ve just succeeded in increasing visitors during the pandemic because I’m definitely going to drop by now!”
“They could’ve not done anything, so this is actually a really thoughtful gesture for visitors.”
“It’s actually pretty special as it’s a photo that can only be taken at this time.”

It’s true that this is a limited-time only experience for visitors to the temple, which, when you think about it, is a neat way to get locals interested in seeing what’s going inside the grounds they’re likely to know so well.

Visitors are told about the repair work and the cover around the building at the ticket booths so there’s no disappointment for those who enter the World Heritage Site. If you’d like to take a photo of yourself at Kinkakuji and fool your friends and family with the realistic photo panel, now is the time to go! And while you’re there, you’ll be able to eat gold at this popular ice cream store nearby as well.

Source: Twitter/金閣寺 パネル via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Flickr/Kentaro Ohno (edited by SoraNews24)
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