406-1 Zōshichō, Nara-shi, Nara-ken 630-8211, Japan

Huge and imposing—in fact, one of the largest wooden buildings in the world—the Todaiji was founded in 752 C.E. As big as the structure is now, it’s still only two-thirds of what it originally was. Besides being notable for its size and UNESCO World Heritage Site standing, the temple houses one of Japan’s greatest artistic treasures, the 15-meter-tall (49-foot-tall) Daibutsu. Usually, throughout Asia, the bigger a statue of Buddha is, the worse it is artistically. The Daibutsu, a staggering work of bronze art, is an exception. When it was first conceived, the Japanese themselves weren’t quite good enough with bronze, so they brought in Korean artists to bail them out. A don’t-miss spot.

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