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A bronze phoenix crowns the roof of the Silver Pavilion at Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. The builder died in 1489 before the building could be covered with silver as planned.

A bronze phoenix crowns the roof of the Silver Pavilion at Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. The builder died in 1489 before the building could be covered with silver as planned.

Japanese tourists taking selfies near Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

Japanese tourists taking selfies near Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

A model shows off a silk kimono at the Nihijin Textile Center in Kyoto, Japan.

A model shows off a silk kimono at the Nihijin Textile Center in Kyoto, Japan.

A Boeing 767 glides across the Pacific between Japan and Canada.

A Boeing 767 glides across the Pacific between Japan and Canada.

The Ishibutai Tumulus at Asuka is the burial mound of Sogano Umako, a 7th century Soga warlord who promoted Buddhism in Japan. The massive ceiling stone weighs 77 tons.

The Ishibutai Tumulus at Asuka is the burial mound of Sogano Umako, a 7th century Soga warlord who promoted Buddhism in Japan. The massive ceiling stone weighs 77 tons.

The 6th century Asuka-dera Temple at Asuka, 25 kilometers south of Nara, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.

The 6th century Asuka-dera Temple at Asuka, 25 kilometers south of Nara, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan.

The rings of this stone monument west of the Asuka-dera Temple at Asuka, Japan, represent the five elements of life: soil (bottom), water, fire, wind, and emptiness.

The rings of this stone monument west of the Asuka-dera Temple at Asuka, Japan, represent the five elements of life: soil (bottom), water, fire, wind, and emptiness.

The Onino Secchin Stone at Asuka, Japan, is the cover stone of a 7th century burial chamber. A local legend claims that demons would confuse travelers with mist and consume their bodies on the mound.

The Onino Secchin Stone at Asuka, Japan, is the cover stone of a 7th century burial chamber. A local legend claims that demons would confuse travelers with mist and consume their bodies on the mound.

The mausoleum of Princess Kibihime (died 643 AD) at Asuka, Japan, contains several stone figures called saru-ishi or "monkey stones".

The mausoleum of Princess Kibihime (died 643 AD) at Asuka, Japan, contains several stone figures called saru-ishi or "monkey stones".

Rice paddies florish at Asuka, Japan, at the southern edge of the Yamato Plain. Japan's first permanent capital was established here in the 6th century AD.

Rice paddies florish at Asuka, Japan, at the southern edge of the Yamato Plain. Japan's first permanent capital was established here in the 6th century AD.

Pickles, seafood, sweets, and much more are sold at the Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, Japan.

Pickles, seafood, sweets, and much more are sold at the Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto, Japan.

This Zen garden at Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, represents waves and a miniature Mount Fuji.

This Zen garden at Ginkakuji Temple in Kyoto, Japan, represents waves and a miniature Mount Fuji.

These vending machines beside the Path of Philosophy in Kyoto, Japan, are typical of roadside dispensers seen all across Japan.

These vending machines beside the Path of Philosophy in Kyoto, Japan, are typical of roadside dispensers seen all across Japan.

The tree-lined Path of Philosophy beside the Sosui Canal links several ancient temples in Kyoto, Japan.

The tree-lined Path of Philosophy beside the Sosui Canal links several ancient temples in Kyoto, Japan.

A quiet street in the Northern Higashiyama district of Kyoto, Japan.

A quiet street in the Northern Higashiyama district of Kyoto, Japan.

The ancient Shimogamo-jinja Shrine stands in a forest near the meeting point of two rivers in Kyoto, Japan.

The ancient Shimogamo-jinja Shrine stands in a forest near the meeting point of two rivers in Kyoto, Japan.