Japan is indeed a world apart – a cultural Galapagos where a unique civilisation blossomed and today thrives in delicious contrasts of traditional and modern. Its spirit is strong, warm and welcoming. The country is dotted with grand temples, atmospheric shrines and elegant gardens. In fact, it is at these temples where you’ll find the best gardens. One of the most popular cities – Kyoto – is home to more than 1000 temples.
Japan’s temples are undoubtedly the best examples of the nation’s early architectural abilities. Important religious complexes were usually quite large and featured a great hall surrounded by smaller buildings like pagodas and structures that served as quarters for devotees.
Take a look at these stunning temples and gardens across Japan.
Nara’s famous Daibutsu (Great Buddha) is housed in the Daibutsu-den Hall of this grand temple. It’s Nara’s most prominent attraction.
One of Nikko’s must-sees is this beautiful Botanical Garden that was established in 1902. Nikko is strewn with World Heritage Sites and is a great day trip from Tokyo.
The small island of Miyajima is a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of Japan’s most-visited tourist spots. It is home to several temples.
Kyoto is where you’ll find all those things to associate with Japan: ancient temples, colourful shrines and sublime gardens.
Going back to the late 6th century, Itsukushima-jinja gives the island its real name. It seems to float on the waves at high tide – a scene that has been ranked as one of the three best views in Japan.
Kamakura’s most iconic sight is this 11.4m bronze statue of Buddha. It was completed in 1252.
All images: Nitin Gairola