10 Japanese Architectural Masterpieces

Grand-Gate-Itsukushima-Shrine-Miyajima-JapanThe island nation of Japan is a country that is equally revered for its modernity as it is for its rich history. Though it borrowed many of its traditions and customs from the neighboring country of China, Japan has created a culture of its own, boasting world renown architecture. Here are Tripping’s picks for the top 10 architectural masterpieces of Japan.

 

Fushimi Inari-taisha (Kyoto, Japan)Fushimi Inari Shrine

Fushimi Inari-taisha is the head shrine of Inari, the Shinto spirit of agriculture and industry. Since its construction in the year 711, the shrine has been a popular spot for world travelers and locals alike. The shrine’s most famous feature is its thousands of torii gates, or japanese archways, that lead into its main entrance and back into its surrounding hiking trails.

 

Himeji Castle (Himeji, Japan)Himeji Castle-crop

Built in 1346, Himeji Castle is located prominently on top of a large hill in Himeji, Japan. Though it was originally built as a fort, the castle has undergone extensive remodelling over the years to become the impressive, 3-story building it is today. Its panoramic views and enormous size make it one of the most visited places in all of Japan.

 

Kaichi Primary School (Matsumoto, Japan)Kaichi Primary School

Built in 1876 as one of the first modern educational buildings in Japan, Kaichi Primary School is a prime example of Japanese-Western architectural fusion. Its unique blend of Japanese carpentry and traditional European design attracts architectural enthusiasts from all of the globe. Today, the school is used as an education museum.

 

Kinkaku-ji Temple (Kyoto, Japan)Kinkaku-ji Temple

Kinkaku-ji, which translates to the “Temple of the Golden Pavillion” is a 14th century Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. As suggested by its title, the top two floors of the temple are covered with pure gold leaf. The temple and its surrounding garden is one of the most popular attractions in Japan.

 

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kyoto, Japan)Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera is a temple located in the Otowa Mountains, featuring excellent views of the city of Kyoto. Though the temple itself is breathtaking, the surrounding cherry blossoms and other greenery amplify its beauty. This temple is certainly a must-see destination.

 

Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto, Japan)Matsumoto Castle-crop

Known as the “Crow Castle”, Matsumoto Castle is another impressive Japanese building. Equipped with moats, gatehouses, and defensive walls, it’s easy to see that this castle was once used for defensive purposes. The castle’s stunning black exterior gives it a mysterious look that continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

 

Nara National Museum (Nara, Japan)SONY DSC

Built in 1889, the Nara National Museum is a western-style building housing a large collection of mainly Buddhist art. The museum is regarded as one of the most impressive in all of Japan. Its rotating exhibits of art from all over the country keep art fanatics coming back year after year.

 

Phoenix Hall (Uji, Japan)Phoenix Hall

Phoenix Hall, built in 1052, is the centerpiece of the Byōdō-in Buddhist temple in the city of Uji, Japan. The building is surrounded by a scenic pond and a stunning garden complex. Its vintage Japanese architectural style is often looked to as an example by imitators. Architecture enthusiasts can view a half-sized model of the temple in O’ahu, Hawaii.

 

Tōdai-ji Temple (Nara, Japan)Todaiji Temple

Constructed in the 8th century, Tōdai-ji Temple is home to the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha. Due to the rarity of bronze at the time, the temple’s construction nearly sent the country into bankruptcy. This temple’s spectacular grounds feature an expansive garden complex that has been often-visited by locals and tourists alike.

Zenkoji Temple (Nagano, Japan)Zenkoji Temple-crop

Though Zenkoji Temple was built for religious purposes, it is most famous for its important role in a series of battles in the 16th century between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen, two Japanese warlords. The temple was one of Kenshin’s main bases, housing and training soldiers. It is home to one of Japan’s first Buddha statues as well as a statue of Binzuru, a follower of Buddha, that stands as a symbol of health and well-being. People from all over the world flock to visit this special temple in hopes of healing their ailments.

 

This post was written by Hogan Bradford, Tripping Blogger.