The Finest Examples of Traditional Japanese Architecture
The absolutely stunning Byodo-in Temple in Uji is considered to be one of the best examples of what is known as Buddhist Pure Land styles architecture. It’s surrounded by natural greenery, beautifully kept garden and serene ponds, conjuring exactly the kind of image you’d expect from such a building. Its most distinctive building is called the Phoenix Hall, on its roof sit two of the creatures it is named after, it is so revered in fact that that it even features on the 10-yen coin. Its grounds date back to the 10th century and within it you will find a plethora of artefacts that relate to its thousand-year long history.
Hikone Castle is an incredibly important building, it was constructed in the Japans Edo Period and is one of a mere 12 castles still left standing in the entire country to still include their original keep. It is in fact seen as a national treasure, one of only 5 to be seen as such. You’ll find Hikone, the place where the castle is situated, in Japans Shiga Prefecture, here you can marvel at the structures elegance, its gates, bridges and numerous turrets as well as its magnificent gardens which are a popular tourist spot during both Spring and Autumn due to its gorgeous colours produced by the plant life there.
The Horyu-ji Pagoda is one of Nara’s Seven Great Temples, these are easily the most influential, not to mention the most powerful temples to exist in the region’s entire history. You can find it in the Nara Prefecture in a place called Ikaruga. It is an extremely impressive building, its five-storey pagoda stands at 32.5 and is made of nothing but wood and a stone foundation. In fact, this building is acknowledged as one of the oldest wooden building still left standing in the world, having been erected in the 7th century. It should come as no surprise then that Horyu-ji Pagoda is a UNESCO World Heritage Site too.
Takayama Gassho-zukuri Farmhouse
Again, an example of architecture from Japans well known Edo period, this time we have the humbler Takayama Gassho-zukuri Farmhouses which can be found in the Hida Folk Village Museum (Hida no Sato) in Takayama. These seemingly modest structures were made without using a hammer or nail yet still are able to withstand the heavy snowfall the region experiences each year.
Katsura Imperial Villa
The Katsura Imperia Villa is made up of buildings and gardens that date back to the 17th century and can be found within Kyoto’s suburbs. It is often thought of to be one of the best examples of traditional Japanese architecture and garden design and layout. Here you will find many tranquil paths to walk on amongst its well-maintained grounds, you can delight in its array of different plants and trees and even visit the Geppa-ro Pavilion which has a marvellous overview of the gardens pond and accompanying teahouses.