The silver pavilion is silver in name only. The temple was modeled after Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion, and is a reflection of the top two stories. This was dreamt up by the grandson of the designer of Kinkakuji, Ashikaga Yoshimasa. Although the plan was to cover the pavilion in silver foil, this never came to fruition before the death of the owner and the temple has remained in this condition since. Ginkakuji’s structure is actually older than the pavilion it was modeled after, since Kinkakuji was burned down and rebuilt around the 1950’s.
However, I knew little of the temple’s history before arriving there, and had actually walked through the entire grounds and was about to exit before I realized that the silver pavilion was, in fact, the rather plain structure at the beginning of the walk. I was expecting a sight as impressive as Kinkakuji. That isn’t to say the temple isn’t worth visiting, just temper your expectations appropriately. The grounds are lush and pleasant to walk through, and the crowds are far less dense than at Kinkakuji.