Japanese architects aimed to be more in harmony with nature and chose wood as their predominate building material. Even today most of Japan's oldest surviving buildings and most famous shrines and temples are made of wood.
Japan is credited with inventing minimalist design. Unlike Western architects who have traditionally tried to make to make their buildings interesting to look at by adding unnecessary decorations and arranging modules of differing heights, Japanese architects focused on making their structures sublime and mysterious on a horizontal level. It has been said that with traditional Japanese architecture you start with one room and take a great effort to get that right before moving on to the next room.