Over the years, I had gone through Kyoto on the Shinkansen a few times but never had enough time to stop and enjoy any sightseeing. From the train, though, a dark, black, imposing pagoda was always visible.
I didn't realize then that this was To-ji Temple. Although the temple was established in 796, the pagoda of this World Heritage Site was built in the Edo period (1603-1867). It is almost 55 meters high (the same as a 16-story building) and is the tallest wooden tower in Japan. The temple itself is home to some amazing statues, while the pagoda dominates the surrounding skyline. There is something powerful and foreboding yet beautiful in its appearance.
Find out more about Toji Temple.