Horyuji monastery, Sain with pagoda 693, kondo 700, Horyu-ji, Ikaruga near Nara, Japan
Ivan Vdovin/© Ivan Vdovin
Nara’s Horyuji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, features the oldest surviving wooden buildings in the world. Initially built in 607 C.E.—and almost immediately burned down—the temple enshrines Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing. The main hall, the hondo, one of the buildings that make the list as oldest, is quite unusual: two floors, but three roofs. The grounds also feature a lovely five-story pagoda where each floor represents an element, as well as a number of other structures, including a Shinto shrine (it’s not at all unusual for a shrine to be on a temple’s property) that shows strong Korean influence.