Japanese

Ancient capitals of Japan.

In the seventh century, Confucianism entered Japan from China, and Chinese writing and many other elements of Chinese culture were adopted. During the period of strengthening political ties with China in the eighth century, a new capital was built in Japan – Nara, which has a regular rectangular layout and architecture with a noticeable Chinese influence.

Ancient capitals of Japan.


The city of Nara (Japan) began to be built at the beginning of the VIII century. in the valley of the same name. During most of the eighth century. Nara was the residence of the Japanese Emperor and was called Heijo-the Capital of the Citadel of the World. Among the shrines of the city, the main place is occupied by the Todaiji Temple. This is a whole temple complex with the largest wooden building in the world-the Hall of the Great Buddha (Daibutsuden). The length of its facade is 57 m, the height is 50 m. The main building of the temple was erected in the middle of the VIII century., The ensemble was fully completed only by the beginning of the XVIII century. The temple of Sangatsu-do (“March Temple”) is considered part of Todaiji, although it appeared much earlier than it. It houses a monument of global significance – a wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Kannon, dated to the VIII century. Founded in the eighth century, the Kasuga Shinto Shrine contains valuable artifacts from the Heian period (late eighth-12th centuries). Among other structures, the Heijo Palace, several temples, including the “grave temple” of Takamatsuzuka, attract attention.
In the IX-X centuries, as a result of the construction of a new capital – Heian (in the area of modern Kyoto) – a new period of development of Japanese architecture begins. The city of Kyoto (Japan) was the imperial capital of the country from its foundation in the late eighth century until the middle of the nineteenth century. Kyoto was built on the model of the then capital of China – the city of Chang’an. The city was planned in the form of a rectangle, stretched from north to south and divided into regular blocks with one-story buildings. The northern part of Kyoto was occupied by the Imperial Palace, surrounded by the estates of the nobility. The citizens of the lower classes lived in the southern part of the city. The garden was a mandatory part of the house – a carefully protected piece of wildlife. A Japanese garden, whether it is a tiny plot or a large park with ponds, gazebos, bridges, mossy stones, is always an object of subtle and serious creativity. About two thousand Buddhist and Shinto temples in Kyoto perfectly illustrate the development of wooden Japanese architecture. The” hallmark ” of Kyoto and one of the greatest masterpieces of Japanese culture is the rock garden in the Buddhist temple of Ryoanji.
The cities of Uji and Otsu (Japan) are located near Kyoto. The small town of Uji was founded in the fourth century. Among its many Shinto and Buddhist shrines are the temples of Bedo-in (XI c.), Kose-ji (XVII c.) and Lampuki-ji (XVII c.). In the city of Otsu is one of the largest temple complexes in the country – Mii-dera (VI c.). It includes about 40 temples and structures. Another attraction of the city of Otsu is the Buddhist monastery of Enaryaku-ji (VIII-IX centuries) on Mount Hii.


The XIV-XV centuries in Japan were marked by the extensive construction of feudal castles-palaces, competing with each other in the originality of solutions and the splendor of gardens. As a result of the establishment of a military dictatorship in the XVI century and the development of trade relations with Europe, elements of European fortification were introduced into Japanese architecture. With the help of Portuguese engineers, fortresses are being built that resemble the feudal castles of Europe, with light multi-tiered superstructures on a powerful stone base.
Himeji Castle (Japan) – one of the most famous, large and beautiful in the country. This masterpiece of wooden Japanese architecture was built during the time of the first shoguns (military rulers of Japan) in the early XVII century. The castle includes 83 buildings with a well-developed defense system. Ditches, ramparts, and walls with stone bases increased Himeji’s defensive capabilities several times over. The outer walls of the castle are covered with white plaster, and the lines of its gray multi-tiered roofs resemble the wings of a bird soaring into the sky. Perhaps because of this, the Japanese call Himeji “the castle of the White Heron”. In its entire history, the castle was not attacked or burned, so it is one of the best preserved castles in Japan.


The last capital of Japan – Edo (modern Tokyo) – was founded in the early XVII century. In the planning and construction of the new capital, the influence of Chinese architecture completely disappears. Numerous imperial palaces are being built, which are asymmetrical in plan, and the skill of creating gardens and parks is at a high level. After the bourgeois revolution of 1867, the process of Europeanization of Japanese culture began.
The cultural landscape of the Iwami Ginzan silver mines (Japan) was formed in the mountains in the south-west of Honshu Island, at an altitude of about 600 m. Here are the remains of extensive silver mines. The first mining settlements began to arise here in the XVI century. Work on the extraction of silver ore and metal smelting was carried out until the twentieth century. Since then, melting furnaces, transport routes, and monasteries have been preserved. Silver from Iwami Ginzan was exported to Korea and China and had a significant impact on the development of not only Japan, but also the entire East and Southeast Asia.
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Japan) was built in 1951-1952 in the Peace Park in the center of the city. It is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the atomic bombing on August 6, 1945. On that day, a significant part of the city was almost instantly destroyed, killing 70 thousand people, another 140 thousand died later from radiation sickness, burns and injuries. A monument to a 12-year-old girl, Sadako Sasaki, a victim of the disaster, has been erected in the park museum. The main monument of the memorial – the Genbaku Dome (“Atomic Dome”) – is the ruins of the exhibition center, built in the early twentieth century. Thanks to the efforts of the residents of Hiroshima, this building was preserved in the form in which it appeared after the explosion. The memorial expresses the hope for world peace and the destruction of nuclear weapons.