A phoenix: Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto
This is a phoenix on the top of roof of the Golden Pavilion, in Kinkakuji Temple.
A phoenix is, according to the Chinese legend, a bird for celebrating the birth of the next Emperor.
The phoenix on the top means that its habitant is the Emperor.
But, actually, it is the Shogun, the ruler all over Japan, who used to be there. The Shogun is Yoshimitsu Ashikaga. He made a fortune in the trade with Korea, and richer than the Emperor.
By putting the phoenix on the top, the Shogun meant that it was him, not the Emperor, who ruled the entire country and he was eager to be the ultimate authority, in place of the Emperor.
at Kinkakuji Temple, Kyoto
Location by Google Map