Kyoto - Japan (Day 7 Part 6) Kiyomizu-dera and Jishu-Jinja

September 06, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

When asking Kyoto locals about the best places to visit in Kyoto Kiyomizu-dera was always among the top of the recommendations and for good reason. I have visited 4 times myself because of the great location, view, atmosphere and history. It is always very busy and I don't know of many tours that it is not the main feature of in Kyoto.  

Deva Gate and Pagoda at Kiyomizu-deraDeva Gate and Pagoda at Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomizu-dera is located on Otawa Mountain and was founded in the year 778 making it well over 1200 years old! It is also a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and the Main Hall is a National Treasure of Japan. One of the most famous features is the huge deck (also known as the stage) in front of the Hondo (Main Hall) which is supported by wooden beams that are roughly 40 feet up from the ground below. The views are sensational!

UNESCO World Heritage Site - Kiyomizudera, KyotoUNESCO World Heritage Site - Kiyomizudera, Kyoto

I walked up through the colorful Deva Gate and wandered around the Bell Tower and past the three storied Pagoda before heading into Kaizan-do hall and the Hondo or Main hall area. It was very very busy this trip. More crowded than any of the previous time I had visited but I kind of enjoyed the different pace from some of the quieter temples and shrines I had been to.

Visitors to KiyomizuderaVisitors to Kiyomizudera

I was asked many times to take group pictures for people. I gladly did it. I wanted to take a good photo for them to keep as a souvenir of their time there. Once I made it to the main deck I had a challenge getting to the edge to see the view. It was a little bit hazy but still beautiful.

Kyoto view from KiyomizuderaKyoto view from Kiyomizudera

It is kind of unusual but there is a Shrine kind of in the middle of this temple. Once you walk past the Deck/Stage and the Main hall it is on your left up some stone stairs. It is called Jishu-jinja and it is a kind of match makers shrine extremely popular with young girls and people seeking their match. This is seriously a fun and lively shrine.

Jishu-Jinja - Matchmaking Shrine, KyotoJishu-Jinja - Matchmaking Shrine, Kyoto

One of the most popular things at Jishu Jinja is the love stones. Two stones are decorated and placed about 20 feet apart, If you can walk between them from one stone to the next with your eyes closed it is said you will find true love. I also understand that you can be assisted in the crossing, but this is means that a go-between will be needed for success in finding love. While I was there I saw several young girls succeed at making the journey between the stones.

The love stone challengeThe love stone challenge

In addition to the love stones there are tons of other attractions built within this small shrine various talismans, incense, and omikuji (paper fortunes). It is a wonderful place to people watch.

The reading of Omikuji (御御籤)The reading of Omikuji (御御籤)

Headed back down the and going back to Kiyomizu-dera territory I walked passed Okuno-in hall which gives you a wonderful view of the city and of the main deck of Kiyomizudera. After a few photos I walked down the windy trail to the base of the temple complex where Otawa Waterfall is located. This is another highlight of the area. There is often a long line to drink the pure water that comes from the fall. In fact that is what the name Kiyomizudera is Pure water temple. It is said that the water has wish granting abilities. Simply use one of the ladles that have a very long handle and reach out to catch the water from one of the three steams.

Drinking from Otowa-no-takiDrinking from Otowa-no-taki

I stayed a long time taking pictures and people soaking in the atmosphere but it was time to get back to my hotel. The thought of walking back was not very appealing so I grabbed a taxi and relaxed in comfort giving my tire legs a break after another busy day.

 


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