I is for Iconic Landmarks


Instead of one locale, today’s A to Z Challenge travel theme is a collection of Iconic Landmarks for the letter I. Rather than focusing on one place (besides the fact that I couldn’t find any good photos from a place that started with I), I wanted to introduce a few iconic landmarks from Japan.

Tokyo Tower

Tokyo Tower – photo by kei

Tokyo Tower 東京タワー

Tokyo Tower is the second tallest structure in Japan at 333 m high. It’s a communication tower located in Tokyo, Japan. It was built in 1958, and currently serves as a TV broadcasting antenna. It’s also a famous tourist spot, and an iconic landmark that is easily recognizable. You can ride up elevators to first the Main Observatory at 150 m, and then the smaller Special Observatory at 250 m. The observatories offer amazing views of Tokyo, and are great places to see the sunset. At night Club333 offers music, and there are shops at the Main Observatory.

Roppongi Hills - Tokyo Tower

View of Tokyo Tower and Tokyo skyline from Roppongi Hills – photo by kei

Tokyo Skytree

Tokyo Skytree – photo by kei

Tokyo Skytree 東京スカイツリー

Tokyo Skytree is the tallest structure in Japan, the tallest tower in the world, and the second tallest structure in the world. It is the primary TV broadcasting antenna since it is taller than the older Tokyo Tower, and it was completed in 2012. There is a large shopping center at the foot of the tower called Solamachi, the Tembo Deck at 350 m, and the Tembo Galleria at 450 m. The Skytree also offers spectacular views of the Tokyo skyline.

Tokyo Skytree

From the base of the Tokyo Skytree – photo by kei

Kiyomizu Temple 清水寺

Traveling to the western part of Japan, Kiyomizu-dera is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was founded in the Heian Period, and it is named after a waterfall that runs off the nearby hills. The name means pure water, and the water is thought to have healing properties. One of the best views is behind the main complex, and in the spring (cherry blossoms) and fall (fall leaves) offers a spectacular view. I have not had the privilege of photographing this, but if you do a quick Google image search of Kiyomizu-dera you will find plenty of examples!

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu Temple – photo by kei

Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺

Kinkaku-ji is officially named Rokuon-ji, but the unofficial name (known in English as the Golden Pavilion) is due to the gold-covered walls. This Buddhist temple is also located in Kyoto, Japan. It was established as Kinkaku-ji in 1397, and despite having been rebuilt many times, it is still awe-inspiring as a visual symbol, especially when the gold reflects off the surrounding pond. As you walk the compound, you stroll through an expansive garden, and when the temple comes into view several times it is always magnificent.


Kinkakuji – photo by kei

Have you visited any of these iconic landmarks? What is your favorite iconic landmark? Let me know in the comments!


2 thoughts on “I is for Iconic Landmarks

  1. Great compilation and photos as usual! Japan has so many wonderful structures it’s difficult to put one as a favorite, we visited each of those and some in other Asian countries while in the area. I think my favorite would be the Petronis Towers in Kuala Lumpur but that is for a personal reason and it was kind of our honeymoon. 🙂


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