Real Life. Real News. Real Voices.
Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard.
Join HuffPost Plus
THE BLOG

17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, Stat

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

When visiting Japan, there are a few things that absolutely need to be on your list: enjoying some (or a lot) of sake with the locals, ample time to explore all of Tokyo's nooks and crannies, and--if you're a lady who's into anime or manga--a quick visit to the girls-only otaku cafe in Osaka. Oh, and then there are the breathtaking temples and shrines you'll find around every corner in Kyoto.

Each and every temple is special in its own rite--a space for housing sacred objects and worshipping. It's the places like this where locals and tourists alike gather to partake in a peaceful moment that really catch our eye. In fact, you don't even need to be in the presence of these stunning pieces of architecture to feel the effects--take a few moments to rest your eyes from the daily grind to take in some of Japan's wondrous (and most cherished) sites. Disclaimer: We're not responsible for any impulse airfare purchases as a result of this slideshow.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatThis Buddhist temple in Eastern Kyoto is part of a series of monuments in the ancient city that have been dubbed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For worshippers, Kiyomizu-dera—which translates to "Pure Water Temple"—is the home of the Goddess of Mercy—a symbol that's been around for more than 1,200 years.Photo: Getty Images
The Great Buddha Statue at Kotoku-In Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatLocated in Kamakura in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, Kotoku-In Temple is widely known for "Great Buddha", a bronze statue that greets people who visit the sacred space. No one knows exactly how old the statue is, but the guess is that it dates to at least 1252. The Great Buddha was preceded by a wooden monument of the same granduer that took 10 years of constant labor to complete. Today's landmark took its place after being damaged in a storm back in 1248. Photo: lorenzoviolone
The Silver Pavilion, Ginkaku-ji Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatGinkaku-ji—which is located in Kyoto's eastern mountain region—was actually a retirement villa before becoming a temple in 1490. The Silver Pavilion was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482, who constructed the home to mimic his great-grandfather's villa (now known as the Golden Pavilion). Photo: Stuart Black
Sanjusangendo Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatThis temple in Eastern Kyoto is mostly known for its collection of 1,001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was originally founded in 1164, but rebuilt in 1264 after a fire destroyed the original structure. Photo: Jack Parsons
Yakushiji Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatLike Kiyomizu-dera, this temple is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the title "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara." Today, the temple is the Hosso School of Japanese Buddhism headlquarters—not a stretch considering it was once one of the Seven Great Temples of Nanto. Photo: (c) Akira Kaede
Todai-ji Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatThis temple—which has been around since 728—has seen its fair share of trauma since opening as a training center for Buddhist monks. In 855, the head from the temple's Great Buddha statue tumbled to the ground during an earthquake (and shortly repaired afterward). Later on, a number of fires and lightning hits damaged the Lecture Hall. And in 1180, more than half of the compound was damaged in a fire during an attack on the Ancient Nara temples by Taira no Shigehira.Photo: Sura Ark
Rock Garden, Ryoanji Temple
See More of the 17 Stunning Temples in Japan That Will Have You Buying a Plane Ticket, StatLocated in northwest Kyoto, this temple is part of the Myōshin-ji school of the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism. Ryoanji Temple, which translates to "The Temple of the Dragon at Peace," is considered to have one of the most impressive instances of kare-sansui, or dry landscape—a type of Japanese zen garden design. Photo: Getty Images

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

--By Erika Owen

Also on HuffPost:

15 Venices