“Although ravaged by wars, fires, and earthquakes during its eleven centuries as the imperial capital, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction of World War II. It was removed from the atomic bomb target list (which it had headed) by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center which he knew from his honeymoon and later diplomatic visits… With its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan.” — Wikipedia
Kinkaku (The Golden Pavilion) is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha. The pavilion is part of a temple that is formally named Rokuon-ji Temple, but commonly called Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Rokuon-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple, in the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect. The garden and its buildings, centered on the Golden Pavilion, were said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world. The villa also functioned as an official guesthouse, welcoming the Emperor and other members of the nobility.
Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is famed for its Zen garden of 15 irregularly places rocks on raked white gravel, representing islands in an ocean or some say (after a few too many cups of warm saké), ‘a tiger carrying her cubs across the water’. It is designed so always at least one of rocks is hidden from the view from any vantage point. It is a supreme art work and the best Zen temple in Kyoto, if not in Japan.