Kyoto, Japan

常照皇寺 (京都府京都市右京区京北井戸町字丸山)

“Standing back in the shadows of the huge trees, the temple was so completely hidden that it appeared to have been walled to withstand a siege. Three long sections of the temple linked to form three sides of the rectangle around the central courtyard; the fourth side was completed by an egg-colored earthen wall and a dark brown gate. I noticed the five horizontal stripes on the wall, which indicated the high rank of the temple. Sixteen-petaled chrysanthemums were stamped on the roof tiles. On the left pillar of the gate was a neat, hand-drawn sign identifying the temple as being under the protection of the imperial house. It had the look of a stronghold that had outlived its occupants by centuries, and it was easy to imagine that it was either itself divine or the abode of divine beings.”

- William Corey