Shitennoji
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Shitennoji
Shitennoji

Shitennoji, considered the first Buddhist temple in Japan, was founded in 593 C.E. All the current temple buildings were reconstructed after WWII, except for the Nakamon Gate, which has somehow stayed intact since 1294. Japanese gates aren’t little garden gates; they’re huge, multistory things. Directly aligned with the gate is a lovely five-level pagoda, each floor representing a different element. Everything from the alignment of gate and pagoda to the layout of the rest of the grounds has some meaning that one could spend years studying. Finally, in the treasury are the only known textiles to have survived since the Heian period, 794–1185, pre-samurai.

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