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architecture has historically influenced that of
Japan. In spite of this, there are still
major differences between the two. One
variation with Japanese architecture typically
placed people on the floor to sit, whereas that of
China had them sitting in chairs. This
custom began to change though in the Meiji period
influence, besides lifestyle, is the climate.
Japanese have to plan according to the climate and
season changes. Since most of Japan has
long, hot summers, the houses reflect that by
being somewhat raised so that air can move all
around. Wood is a popular choice for
material because it adjusts well to earthquakes
and works well with season changes (cool in
summer, warm in winter).
as well has greatly influenced Japanese
architecture since it's introduction from China
during the Asuka period (593-710). Horyuki
Temple was built in 607 under the influence of
Buddhism, and was registered in 1993 as a
UNESCO World Heritage property. The layout
of this temple has been unchanged and preserved
over the years. The Buddhist deity
worshipped at the temple is housed in the main
hall, which is the oldest wooden structure in the
world and the center of the entire complex.
Nara period (710-794) brought about imitation of
the Chinese capital. A capital city,
Heijokyo, was planned as an imitation of the
Chinese capital and included a checkerboard
pattern for the streets. Nobility were
housed in buildings during the Heian period
(794-1185) that had the main buildings and
sleeping rooms in the center with corridors
connecting other apartments. This style is
called shinden-zukuri and an example of
this is the Tosanjo Palace (1043).
Rikyu in Kyoto is an example of the style popular
during the Muromachi period (1333-1568). Tea
ceremonies were popular then, so tea cottages were
built to reflect this style. Slender wood
elements, simplicity with no distracting
ornaments, and harmony between the cottage and the
landscape garden are indicative of sukiya-zukui.
were built in the 16th century due to the
infiltration of feudal lords into Japanese
society. The lords' sought to enhance their
prestige with them, as well and for military
defense. There are still a few standing
today, with the watchtowers the main attraction.
An example of the shoin-zukuri style is the
Shiroshoin at Nishi-Hongenji in Kyoto, which is a
National Treasure of Japan.
the influence of the Meiji period from 1868-1912,
stone and brick was brought in from Western
architectural influences. Now Japan is
blending traditional Japanese architecture with
modern technology and new materials in the
construction of new buildings.
Himeji Castle is
representative of all the castles found in Japan.
Well-preserved, Himeji Castle's traditional wooden
architecture, stone walls and white-plastered
walls are in their original forms since it was
never destroyed as a result of war. see
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