“Tokyo, Japan’s busy capital, mixes the ultramodern and the traditional, from neon-lit skyscrapers to historic temples. Tokyo is considered the world’s largest city with its urbanization exceeding its city limits, and hosts over 36 million people spread over three prefectures. The opulent Meiji Shinto Shrine is known for its towering gate and surrounding woods. The Imperial Palace sits amid large public gardens. The city’s many museums offer exhibits ranging from classical art (in the Tokyo National Museum) to a reconstructed kabuki theater (in the Edo-Tokyo Museum).
Temples are built to serve the Buddhist religious tradition and are characterized by a sanmon gate at the entrance. Large sanmon gates at temples such as the Todaiji Temple in Nara or the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo have impressive roofs and fierce temple guardian statues known as niozo in their columns. They symbolize faith, or dedication to the deity that the temple pays homage to. They can mean dedication to spiritual expansion and the path to enlightenment.”