Japanese culture dates as far back as 70,000 BC, but their architecture didnt start evolving until somewhere in between 300 BC and 300 ad. The first architecture of that period where small huts, nestled in the earth with thatch roofs covering them.
In the mid-sixth century ad, Buddhism came to Japan. With it, the art of pagoda building. Early pagodas where very small, but eventually they became very tall, usually around 5 stories, and brightly colored. They were usually made of wood, a plentiful local material.
In 710, when the capital of Nara was established, temple-monastery building was at its peak. The most impressive of the new temples is Todaiji, whose colossal Great Buddha, or Daibutsu, a cast bronze image more than 16 m (53 ft) high, was completed in a grand opening ceremony in 752.
Japanese houses are very unique. They prefer to have open spaces with walls that slide into place. Usually, they are donut shaped, and in the middle, there is a small garden or courtyard. Sometimes, they have creeks that run under the house and through the courtyard. Typically the roofs are turned up at the corners, and slightly longer than the handrail-less deck, which runs all the way around the house. For decorations, they place rocks under the decks, and flowers in the house.
Japanese castles are very pretty, and are somewhat rare. A very famous one is Matsumoto castle, built in 1503. It is very large and has features that represent other Japanese castles well. The upturned roofs are a good example, along with the roofs for every floor, the stone base, and the trees decorating the surrounding area.
Modern Japanese architecture is extremely contemporary. The buildings built now resemble western curtain-wall architecture. An architect who designs in this style is Kenzo Tange.