Kiyomizu-dera - Guide to Kiyomizu-dera Temple complete with many pictures in cherry blossom season of Kiyomizu-dera's gardens. Kiyomizu-dera is in Kyoto Japan.
Kiyomizu-dera (or Kiyomizudera, 清水寺) refers to several Buddhist temples but most commonly to Otowasan Kiyomizudera (音羽山清水寺) in Eastern Kyoto, and one of the best known sights of the city. The temple dates back to 798, but the present buildings were constructed in 1633. The temple takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills - kiyoi mizu (清い水) literally means pure water.
Kiyomizu-dera with impressive veranda
Organised guided tours are available in English to
Kiyomizu-dera Temple. These are available as half day tours including
Heian Shrine and
day tours including Nijo Castle,
Golden Pavilion and
Kiyomizu-dera Tour Options
Kyoto Day Tour - Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple
Kyoto Afternoon Tour - Heian Shrine, Sanjusangendo, Kiyomizu Temple
The main hall of Kiyomizu-dera is notable for its vast veranda,
supported by hundreds of pillars, which juts out over the hillside
and offers impressive views of the Kyoto
city. The expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu"
(「清水の舞台から飛び降りる」) is the Japanese equivalent of the English
expression "to take the plunge". This refers to an Edo period
tradition that held that, if one were to survive jumping from the
stage, one's wish would be granted.
This appears plausible: the lush vegetation below the platform might cushion the fall of a lucky pilgrim, though the practice is now prohibited. 234 jumps were recorded in Edo period and of those, 85.4 percent survived. The fall is indeed only 13 metres, which remains impressive for a wooden construction.
Otowa-no-taki with its three channels of water
Beneath the main hall is the waterfall Otowa-no-taki, where three
channels of water drop into a pond. Visitors to the temple collect
the water, which is believed to have therapeutic properties, from
the waterfall in metal cups. It is said that drinking the water of
the three streams confers health, longevity, and success in studies.
The temple complex contains several other shrines, notably Jishu-jinja, dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love and "good matches". Jishu-jinja possesses a pair of "love stones" placed 18 metres apart, which lonely visitors attempt to walk between with their eyes closed. Success in reaching the other stone, eyes closed, is taken as a presage that the pilgrim will find love. One can be assisted in the crossing, but this is taken to mean that an intermediary will be needed. The persons romantic interest can assist them as well.
The complex also includes all the fixtures of a popular temple, being one of the most-visited attractions of the city: hawkers offering various talismans, incense, and o-mikuji (paper fortunes ranging from "great fortune" to "great ill") abound. Indeed the high popularity of the place means that tourists will find it difficult to take pictures on the main temple's platform.
Click on the pictures below for a larger version and further description.