Sugared & Spiced

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[Kyoto] Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺

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Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺

Add: 1-294 Kiyomizu Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Hours: 6am-6pm
Price: ¥300/person
Visited: Nov 2010

Among the hundreds of temples and shrines in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera (Pure Water Temple) stands out as a must visit. Originally built in 798 and reconstructed in 1633, the temple is best known for its wooden stage that juts out 13 meters above the hillside below, offering an impressive view of cherry blossoms in the Spring or maple leaves in the Fall with Kyoto city in the backdrop.

Kiyomizu-dera is extremely popular even during off seasons, so we made that our first destination in the morning to beat the crowd. To get there, take bus 100 or 206 (15 minutes, ¥220) from Kyoto Station, get off at Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, then take a 10-minute uphill stroll via Chawan-zaka (茶わん坂) to reach Kiyomizu-dera.

At the entrance of Kiyomizu-dera, we rinsed our mouths and hands at the stone water basin. This is a common practice at all Japanese temples and shrines, since it is believed that such purification is necessary before entering sacred temple grounds.

After climbing a few flights of stairs, we arrived at the Kiyomizu-dera main hall. What a sight! The large veranda is supported by tall pillars and juts out over the hills, which is especially impressive considering that no nails were used at all during construction.

The temple complex also includes several other shrines, the most famous being the Jishu Shrine (地主神社), which is dedicated to Okuninushi, a god of love and matchmaking. At Jishu Shrine is a pair of “love stones” placed 18 meters part. It’s believed that if you successfully reach one stone from another with your eyes closed, you will be able to find true love in your life. Though I didn’t give it a try, there were quite a few guys attempting to do so with their girlfriends at the other stone shouting out directions :).

Child birth, safety, pass (an exam), win, love…pick your luck!

Below the main hall is the Otowa waterfall, where you can drink from three different channels of water, each representing a specific fortune – wisdom, health, and longevity. However, think carefully and pick no more than two to drink from, since the greediness of choosing all three will result in misfortune!

A must visit. Come early (the temple opens at 6am) and follow the visit with tofu lunch at Okutan for a quintessential Kyoto experience.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 21st, 2010 at 11:39 pm