This is Kinkakuji, and yes, it's covered in gold leaf. The construction cranes in the background were dangling gardeners, who were tending to a tree.

Originally built as an escape for royalty, it is now a shrine.

...and one more, without the tourists!

What tourists? The visitor pathway went by the east and north sides of the building, so for most of the view angles, it was mostly trees.

You could walk directly behind it, but first, I thought I'd give the zoom lens a bit of exercise.

Three floors, and usually unoccupied.

There was a lightening rod on top, in the shape of a bird.

A phoenix, I believe... You can see the blackened marks on the head. The lightening rod works. The chains are probably to keep it from blowing off in a storm.

As we walked towards the building, I kept taking pictures as the view changed.

And now featuring: pine trees!

All that gold makes for a reflective building!

"Oh quick, Don, you have to come see this!" "What is it?" "A tree!" This is apparently an old tree being held up by bamboo... page.