We had it on fine authority (Mark and Christine) that Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion, is breathtaking. They were not wrong. The buildings, originally constructed in 1482 as a summer retreat for shogun Yoshimasa, now belong to one of the sects of the Rinzai Zen school. This former villa and its surrounding gardens are favourite subjects of Japanese painters and poets. We arrived early to beat the daily horde, and ended up with the place almost to ourselves.