Highly developed architecture of China came to Japan with the introduction of Buddhism in the 6th century. The great monastery of Horyu-ji was nearly completed and the essence of wooden structure of building represents sacred beauty of Buddhism. Development of castles at the late 16th century is as important as traditional temples. It was as a result of feudal warfare. Fortified castles, of which many still exists, but some were destroyed, were built on stone blocks.
Todaiji, the inspiration of Emperor Shomu, was built in 734 A.D. as a national temple. It was located to the east of Nara, then called Heijo. Todaiji means "a large temple to the east". At this time Japan had close relations with Tang (ancient China) and Silla (ancient Korea) and was striving to introduce the cultures and philosophies of these two mentor nations
Horyuji is the one of oldest architecture and has been chosen as a human heritage of UNESCO in 1993. Moreover inside buildings, there exists a plenty of valuable art works and it is considered as one of the most important temples of the Japanese culture. You can see a range of the oldest wooden buildings of the world like Kondo and Gojuno-to (five-storied pagoda).
Jingu Shrine in Ise City, Mie Prefecture. The Inner Shrine enshrines Amaterasu Omikami, the sun goddess, from whom the imperial family claimed descent. Jingu Shrine is one of the most ancient and most sacred of the Shinto shrines in Japan, the Jingu Shrine has always been held in high esteem by the Japanese people.
The magnificent architecture of the Izumo Taisha Shrine was mentioned in Japan's most ancient chronicle, the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters). The architectural style is as old as that found at Ise Jingu Shrine.
The unique Taisha style of architecture is now found only in Shimane Prefecture.
Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) is a Zen temple formally known as Rokuonji.
In 1397 construction started on the Golden Pavilion as part of a new residence for the retired shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. Kinkakuji was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimitsu's death in 1408.
Ginkaku-ji, is considered as a branch temple of Shokoku-ji. Its official name is Tozan (Eastern Mountains) Jisho-ji. The gentle hills that range along the eastern edge of Kyoto and a much appreciated part of the landscape in Kyoto. Ginkaku-ji is located in the foothills of Daimonjiyama. The "Philosopher's Path," named after a favorite stroll of the philosopher Nishida Kitaro (1870-1945).
[Ginkakkuji ( The Golden Pavilion)]
The temple was first owned by Fujiwara Michinaga, a powerful regent and the model for the hero Genji in Tale of Genji. Then his son, regent Fujiwara Yorimichi, converted it into a temple in 1052.
Kumamoto Castle was constructed by the Kato Kiyomasa (Kato Clan) in 1607. Half a century later, it was handed over to the Hosokawa Clan which ruled over 200 years after the establishment of Tokugawa Shogunate.
Himeji is the best-preserved example of 16th century Japanese castle architecture. It was built in 1580 by a lord called Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
The castle consists of 83 buildings, and has a highly developed defense system.