• Kyodo

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The famed golden pavilion at the Kinkakuji temple in Kyoto began Tuesday a three-month renovation of its shingled roof amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has drastically reduced the number of visitors.

The pavilion with its gold leaf gilded facade is part of a World Heritage site in the ancient capital. Visitors will be unable to fully view the temple for three weeks as scaffolding will completely shroud the pavilion. The renovation work will be completed sometime in December.

Instead, a large photo panel of the Buddhist temple was set up on Tuesday for travelers and worshippers to see, as materials for the renovation work were brought in. Kinkakuji last underwent a similar renovation in 2002.

The temple, like many other tourist attractions, saw a big fall in the number of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic. But it has decided to take advantage of the adverse situation.

“Having so few tourists around, we thought it would be a good time to get all the necessary work done,” an official at the temple said.

Kinkakuji, first built in 1398, was burnt down in an arson attack in 1950 but rebuilt five years later.

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