How is it that, over the past 1,400 years, only two Japanese pagodas have been known to topple in an earthquake? The mystery is unraveled when one discovers how these towers can dance in harmony with nature’s forces: their distinctive tiers are not actually attached to one another! Each story has its own set of load-bearing pillars, allowing all the floors to move independently. Heavy tiled roofs help maintain balance, in the same way as a tightrope walker’s pole. There are many pagodas in Japan, particularly in Kyoto and Nara, the country’s former religious centers. Some claim the pagoda’s architecture is original to Japan. However, as Buddhism was introduced from China to Japan, it is more likely that so too were the pagodas. Five-Storied Pagodas are also found in tea gardens around the world, one of the most notable being the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.