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In the wooded hills on the edge of the city, Kinkakuji is a Zen Buddhist temple and one of Kyoto's 17 UNESCO-listed Historical Monuments and one of its most beautiful sights. The main pavilion is covered in gold leaf, artfully enhanced by the reflecting pool that laps at its foot, and surrounded by gardens that are exemplar classical Japanese horticultural design. The sight, however, has not always exuded such tranquillity - the pavilion that you see today is not the 14th century building but a 1955 reconstruction after the original was burnt down by a rogue monk.
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