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Architecture of Japan. Must see and must visit landmarks

Chion-in, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The bell in Chion-in proclaims the New Year. The log attached to the ceiling beam is used to swing 70-ton construction.
» 16 servants push it 108 times. As the Japanese think, this number represents passions that overpower the individuals.
» In 1636, the copper item was cast for the Buddhist sanctuary. Hammered rings that support the weight of the bell were made by masters in making swords.
» Chion-in consists of many constructions. Monk Honen found a sect that preached the hope of salvation from misfortunes. It settled right in the territory of the temple in 1523. There is a belief that the soul if the Master still patronizes the temple.
» Before entering cult sanctuaries, you must wash your hands and rinse your mouth in the special bowl of the fountain.
» You can enter the territory through the gate that is 24 m high and 50 m wide.
» You can see pictures of Buddha and his 16 successors in inner rooms. There are colorful paintings and flying serpents on the ceiling, bars, and columns.
» The halls have a squeaky floor, so steps of unwanted visited are heard.
» There are 3 rose petals (a family emblem) carved in all side roofs.
» When the building was being reconstructed, an umbrella was found. The architect protected the building from the fire this way.

Himeji Castle, Osaka

Location on the map:   Interesting facts: » The curved flooring above the moat leads to the white castle on the high hell. Originally, it was built as a military post.
» The road winds among multiple defense towers that were built by different owners. You can see the names of warlords on the arms in the castle walls and roof.
» The hedged buildings with branches give an impression that the main building of the castle moves away.
» Himeji Castle (1333) is a five-level building. There are rooms with curved roofs at several higher levels.
» Slopes, the foundation of the building, and the first floors are stone and cemented with oil-based paint.
» Everyone must take off shoes at the entrance. The interior is wooden. Everything - the floor, wall panels, partition walls, whitewashed walls - represents austerity. There are armors and helmets with horns along the walls.
» There are triangular and rectangular oval loopholes, through which thousands of samurai could target lost enemies from three sides. The temple consists of 83 buildings.
» Its name “White Heron” reflects the resemblance of its shape with a bird’s silhouette.
» The lines «…the landscape is reflected in a drop and exists until it drips» conveys the magnificence of the old building.

Imperial Palace, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Several buildingы of the Imperial Palace were built in 1855. Original constructions were destroyed in a fire. Almost a thousand journeymen reconstructed them.
» One of the palace, “Omya”, is a holiday home for the members of the Royal Family visiting Kyoto.
» The territory of the Palace is protected by long massive white walls with brown faded beams. There are 6 gates. The complex is 1 300 m long and 700 m wide.
» The free zone is available for tourists. Alleys are covered with gravel. In the park, you can see pines, cherry trees, and maples.
» One of the palaces includes the audience hall. There is a monarch’s room in the other one. There is also the Empress’s Room and the Study Room.
» The Imperial Palace saw 28 generations of rulers living here.
» The rooms are separated by sliding panels. On the partition walls, you can see pictures of flowers and animals and images from Lives of the Saints.
» All the constructions of the palace have its functions: the refectory, prayer rooms, the meeting room, household buildings, and warehouses.
» Roof ridges have the shape of arms and depict chrysanthemums.

Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The golden pavilion is a Buddhist temple with a pyramidal roof. Relics are kept here under special conditions.
» The building is faced with gold leaf covered with protective lacquer. It was built in 1397.
» In 1950, the Golden Pavilion was burnt completely but it was restored fast.
» Each level of the three-storied building was constructed in accordance with architectural traditions of different eras: palace architecture, the samurai residence, and the Buddhist sanctuary.
» The ground floor is an audience hall with a protruding terrace. In the room, there is the statue of Buddha and the founder of the monastery.
» The statue of the founder is decorated with drawings. Poetic and music evenings are held in the hall.
» The building has a remote tile roof. It is crowned with a mythical phoenix.
» It is decorated with small oval windows. You can see floral ornaments on the alcoves. Patterned cornices, grates, light pillars... The exterior of the building impresses with its elegance and ease. Religious rites are held here.
» Japanese rules inspired by the “golden” exterior of the temple built the “silver pavilion” in the other part of the city.
» This building has been mentioned in fiction.
» The palace is surrounded by a garden and a tea house.

Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Kiyomizu-dera is literally translated as the Temple of Clear Water from Japanese. It is a place of worship of the Goddess of Fortune with a hundred arms.
» On the Otova hill slope, there is a namesake waterfall. The temple is named like that due to its clear water.
» There is a wooden construction in front of the temple. It has a wonderful panoramic view of the natural landscape. The building is surrounded by cherry trees and maples.
» Masters built the platform with 139 pillars and the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera without nails.
» Near it, there is a sanctuary, Jishu-jinja. Two boulders located at a certain distance from each other are very popular. The legend says that those who walk this distance blindfolded find happiness within marriage.
» In the territory of the temple, there is a waterfall of three streams. They mean health, knowledge, and love. You can even drink water but only from one of the sources. Before this, you must worship the statue.
» Near it, there are 200 stone statues of idols, patrons of children, and travelers’ defenders.
» In the territory of the temple, there is also the three-tier pagoda and the library of sutras (moral tales). The entrance is guarded by stone statues.

Kyoto National Museum, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Kyoto National Museum is a red brick building. Its total area is 50 thousand m2.
» The new building built in 1966 houses permanent collections including pieces of Asian arts. 12 000 exhibits are placed into three sectors. 230 exhibits are national Japanese treasures.
» The collection includes exhibits that have been kept in temples, royal palaces, and personal houses before. There are 200 000 photos.
» The showroom is divided into three sections. The first one, “beaux-arts”, presents sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy. The second section, “handcraft”, presents ceramic items, woven fabrics, and home-made lacquer and metal works. Tea cups, Japanese chawan, are very attractive. They are covered with glaze and were made in the 12th century. The third section is dedicated to archeology and archeological relics.
» Besides, there is the Meiji Kotokan Hall (the tomb of the imperial family) in the territory of the museum. It is a small tea house where you can see the garden with fountains, stone statues of Buddha, Korean stone sculptures, and how tea is made in accordance with age-old traditions.

Kyoto Tower, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The authorities had built the contemporary architectural marvel before the Olympic Games started. The new building was built at the site of the old post office at the end of 1964.
» The new construction met with a mixed reaction of the locals. Some people thought that the spire spoiled the historical appearance of the city.
» The steel tower with the observation platform and the spire is 131 meters high. The tower weighs 800 tons. The modern “needle” construction is situated in the roof of the nine-storied building. There is also a hotel and a department store.
» The tower has a panoramic view of the city. The construction is fixed with metal frames. The interior is distinguished by a thousand alternating steel rings. Additional rings are protected by steel plates painted in white.
» The construction resembles a candle with its exterior. The building is very stable and can withstand typhoons, earthquakes, winds of 90 meters per second, so natural disasters will not damage it.
» Over a million people visit the observation platform every year. You can reach it by one of the 9 lifts for 90 seconds. You can use a telescope to obtain a better overview.
» The lights of the tower serve as pointers. The tower is the highest construction in the city.

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Meiji Shrine is the largest in Tokyo Shinto shrine dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shoken.
» This sanctuary is the typical example of unique Japanese temple architecture. Cypress was used for construction of the temple.
» The temple is surrounded by the garden that embraces all kinds of trees and shrubs that grow in Japan.
» The shrine has the museum and the treasury, which holds a variety of items dating back to the reign of the emperor's family.
» Meiji Jingu Outer Garden, known as the center of Japanese sports, is in one kilometer from the Inner Gaden. At the end of the alley there is the Meiji Memorial Picture Gallery containing 80 large murals illustrating events in life of the emperor and his wife.

Metropolitan Government Building, Tokyo

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The Metropolitan Government Building is the skyscraper that houses the Tokyo metropolitan government.
» The height of the building is 243 meters. Since its completion in February 1991 to January 2007 it was the tallest building in Tokyo.
» The Metropolitan Government Building is the complex of three buildings combined into a single architectural composition. All three buildings are linked by narrow bridges.
» The exterior and interior of the Metropolitan Government Building have elements that resemble computer chips.
» All buildings were constructed using special earthquake-resilient technologies that will withstand the 8-magnitude earthquake.
» The Metropolitan Government Building can boast ultra-silent elevators that take visitors to the 240-meter height in one minute.

Museum of Fine Arts, Osaka

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Not only Japanese, but also foreign pieces of art are kept in the Osaka Museum located on Nakanoshim Island.
» Three floors of the building are situated under the water. The unusual construction was built due to the lack of space in the megapolis.
» The building is sealed, has three-layer walls, and is 22 m in the earth. It has been constructed for five years.
» The first level is glazed completely. There is a restaurant, a children’s room, and a shop. The second basement floor houses the collection of pieces of modern art. The third floor is the gallery of contemporary paintings.
» If you go up the stairs, you will see works of the Spanish painter, the American sculptor, and the Japanese artist. The upper levels of the building have an unusual avant-garde design. Wall panels are made of metal tubes. According to the architect’s plan, the exterior of the building should resemble shaking cane.
» The museum rents 13 m2. The collection of the second half of the 20th century includes over 5 thousand exhibits.
» The official name of the building is “National Museum of Fine Arts”. The museum belongs to the Japanese Ministry of Education.

Nagai Stadium, Osaka

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The city football and sports stadium was built in 1964 for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
» Over 30 years after (in 1996), it was reconstructed: the area of the stadium increased and the number of seats grew up to 50.
» The constructed cost 380 million dollars.
» The local football club trains and plays home games at the stadium. Championships in athletics are held here.
» The size of the playground is 107x71 m. In 2002, the Japanese National Sports Festival was held here.
» Osaka took part in international games in 2008. The stadium management offered to hold this event right at the stadium. But Beijing was honored to hold the Olympic Games.
» The official name is “Osaka Nagai Stadium”. It includes an additional sports ground, the so-called Aid Stadium. It accommodates 15 thousand visitors. The sports arena including jogging tracks belongs to the prefecture of Osaka.
» The music band from South Korea Bing Bang gave a concert on the platform of the stadium. When the band performed, the stadium was illuminated with colorful lights.

National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The National Museum of Nature and Science is able to depict the evolution of living organisms on Earth, ecosystems, and modern technology.
» All museum visitors have an opportunity to conduct interactive science experiments.
» The museum has two galleries, the Global gallery devoted to the planet in general, and the Japanese gallery. Galleries are located in different buildings.
» The museum is of six floors, where visitors can independently carry out experiments in physics and interactively study the life of the forest. Rooftop Global Gallery is a garden with about 160 species of herbs used by man and umbrellas opening automatically, when people are approaching.
»  The building of the Japanese gallery has a 3D-cinema with a viewing angle of 360 degrees.

Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» The building was built in 1626. The castle is the shelter of Kyoto rulers. The name of the castle is similar to the name of the road where it is located.
» You can enter the complex only through the gate on the eastern side. The territory is fenced with stone walls and ponds. There is a Japanese garden with a pond, rocks, and pines growing on islets.
» The inner area is protected by several rings.
» The park is famous for cherry trees growing here. They bloom by the end of April. Maples and ginko (relict) trees make the landscape more beautiful.
» The castle includes several separate constructions. They are linked with hallways. They are distinguished by a squeaky floor with special covering that squeaks when coming into contact with something.
» 33 luxurious rooms are tiled with special mats. The rooms are separated by sliding doors with colorful patterns. The walls in the conference room are decorated with painted herons and fancy flowers. Living rooms feature pictures with sleeping sparrows against the black-and-white background.
» The collection of 3 thousand paintings is kept here.
» The guards' rooms are so disguised that it is impossible to see them inside the paper walls.

Nippon Budokan, Tokyo

Location on the map:     Interesting facts:
» Nippon Budokan is the closed arena, built in 1964 for the judo competition of the XVIII Olympic Games. Its name literally translates as ‘martial arts hall’.
» The building has octagonal shape; its height is 42 meters and capacity is more than 14,000 people.
» This sports arena regularly hosts rock concerts.
» In 1996, The Beatles, becoming the first foreign band playing a concert here, has performed at Nippon Budokan.
» Nippon Budokan arena annually hosts national championships of numerous martial arts in Japan.
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