Friday, October 31, 2008

Kiyomizu-dera (Kyoto)

Kiyomizu-dera is a Tendai Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Its full name is Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) UNESCO World Heritage site. Not one nail is used in the whole temple.

The temple dates back to 798 and its present buildings were constructed in 1633. The temple takes its name from the waterfall inside the complex, which runs off the hills nearby. Kiyomizu translates into “clear water.”

The main hall has a veranda, supported by tall pillars, that juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city. The expression “to jump off the stage in Kiyomizu” 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 a 13 meter jump from the stage, your wish would be granted. 234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period and of that, 85% survived. Obviously that practice is now prohibited.

Beneath the main hall is the Otowa waterfall, 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. It is said that drinking the water offers wisdom, health and longevity.

Entrance gate of Kiyomizu-dera

City view from entrance

Entrance gate of Kiyomizu-dera


View from the veranda

View from the veranda

The main building and its veranda. The building is a national treasure.


A view of the main building from below. If you jumped off the veranda, this is where a person was most likely to wind up.

Otawa waterfall where visitors drink of the sacred water. Despite the fact that hundreds of visitors share the drinking utensils, there is a sterilization process where the visitors can have their drinking cup cleaned before each use quickly and conveniently.


Main entrance to temple


To learn more about this historic temple.
Kiyomizu-dera link

1 comment:

チエンイ said...

Jus landed here by pure coincidence.
But i've gotta say that the pictures u posted here are really pretty.
I love the scenery.^^