Kyoto's Golden Pavilion
Japan
Kyoto was the Emperor's residence and Japan's capital for
about one thousand years, until the Meiji Emperor moved it
to Tokyo in 1868.

Kyoto was never bombed during World War II, starting out
on the U.S. list of potential atomic bomb targets, which had to
be left intact, allowing for proper measure of the A-bomb's
destructive power.  Then an American commander who had
lived in Japan managed to have Kyoto taken off the atomic
bomb list, and protected due to its cultural significance.

Kyoto thus survived the war, and now offers at least 13 World
Heritage Sites to visitors who are unlikely to see them all.
We begin with the Golden Pavilion, a Kyoto symbol, without
peer on the planet in my opinion.  It is photographed over a
lovely Japanese garden,  enveloped in greenery and water.
The Golden Pavilion was originally built in 1397, later
becoming a Buddhist temple.  An insane monk burned it
down in 1950.  This 1955 reconstruction is an exact copy of
the original, with no modern alterations, except for the
addition of more gold.
A photographer's search for the perfect Golden Pavilion
picture may never succeed.  On the other hand, it's hard
to ever take a bad picture of the Golden Pavilion.  This
was my best composition, despite too little sun.
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the
Intrepid Berkeley Explorer's free streaming video of this trip,
"Castles of the Rising Sun", by clicking on:
http://www.adventurepics.com/IBE/video1.aspx?
VF=RisingSun.wmv