Ginkakuji ("The Temple of the Silver Pavilion") is the popular name of a famous Buddhist temple in the northeastern Saikyo district of Kyoto, Japan. The actual name of the temple is Jishōji (慈照寺, "Temple of Shining Mercy"), and it is a subtemple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism.
Because of its name, "silver pavilion," and the fact that there is another temple in Kyoto called Kinkakuji ("The Temple of the Golden Pavilion") which is actually covered in real gold, many tourists visit Ginkakuji expecting to find a pavilion covered in real silver, and are disappointed to find instead a rather plain and unostentatious wooden pavilion which is much more in keeping with the "wabi-sabi" aesthetic of its creator, the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa (1435-1490).
According to legend, Yoshimasa always intended to cover the pavilion in silver, in imitation of the golden Kinkakuji built by his grandfather Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, but ran out of time and money due to the disruption of the Onin War. However, there is not a shred of evidence that the Yoshimasa ever intended to put silver on the pavilion, and this would have entirely clashed with the simple, austere aesthetic used throughout the rest of the temple complex. Moreover, the name "Ginkakuji" was not applied to the temple until many years after its construction.
Much like his grandfather's Kinkakuji, however, Yoshimasa originally built Ginkakuji not as a temple but as a mountain retreat where he could find rest and solace in a beautiful setting, and the complex was only made a temple after his death.
Ginkakuji is architecturally and artistically important as one of the earliest examples of the "Higashiyama" style of architecture and interior decoration which Yoshimasa championed - a simple, austere style making much use of natural materials in their natural state and eschewing ostentation of any kind. Ginkakuji is also the site of what is held to be the first ever example of the four-mat Japanese tea room used in the Japanese tea ceremony, with its tiny hearth and small tokonoma for displaying ojects d'art.
Ginkakuji also has extensive grounds including a beautiful garden said to have been designed by famous landscape artist Soami, and most famously a Zen "sand garden" in which sand (rather than the small pebbles of say, Ryoanji) is shaped into various abstract patterns said to represent the ocean, and a large conical shape said to be a minature version of Mount Fuji.
Also worth noting are the 16 different kinds of moss which grown on Ginkakuji's grounds, and the hilariously mistranslated display about these mosses, including such Engrish gems as "Moss the Interrupter" (the Japanese reads "irritating moss"), and "VIP Moss" (Japanese "valuable moss").