View of the Kiyomizu-dera.
Deva gate of Kiyomizu-dera.
Pagoda of Kiyomizu-dera.
Perched on his mount, the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto City was at his feet.
Credit: Joi Ito
The bell of the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto.
Credit: Paul and Jill
Map Kiyomizu-dera (Tokyo), the Deva gate to the waterfall Otowa.
Kiyomizu-dera is sinking into the forest and reappears only partially.
Credit: Andrea Schaffer
The Otowa waterfall that gives its name to Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto.
Credit: Ryan Poplin
Kiyomizu-dera can not grasp in its entirety without following every step made by former pilgrims.
The reward after finding your way through the maze of narrow shopping streets of Gion and making the difficult ascent up the hills of Higashiyama is the intense, red details of the Deva gate that provides a striking contrast with immaculate white walls.
The wonders don't stop after this first discovery, with the western gate that hides three-storied pagoda spire of forged metal. The first building, the hall Zuigu-do, is then on the left. It offers very strange experience that delves into the spiritual mindset needed to tackle the mysteries of the temple, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
With a coin and the removing of your walking shoes, access to the uterus of Daizuigu Bosatsu, the mother of Buddha, is open and accessible to you. In darkness, the sensory experience culminates to reveal the incredible vision of an illuminated stone allowing fulfill a vow by turning on itself. Upon leaving this "womb," visitors will likely feel beyond perplexed, but the strange Zuigu do is interesting enough to want to get better acquainted with the other secrets of Kiyomizu-dera.
The arrival in the sacred area
It is only after passing the halls of Zuigudo and Kaizando that the path to the main building appears. The buildings on the left should not be ignored, as they host a lovely garden and the building of Jojuin, often neglected by tourists but deserving of attention, if only for the green lotus flowers and roses that dot the paved roads in summer. Take note of the dragon fountain Seiryu, the origin of the Seiryuue festival in March, April and September. Once you have paid your entry fee into the temple, the show is breathtaking.
The main pavilion, or Hondo, stands on a wooden platform mounted on stilts at a height of two meters above the precipice. The panorama encompasses the city of Kyoto , magnified by the heights, the abundant vegetation in the area, increased beauty in spring when the cherry blossoms or autumn, when the maple leaves glow. Rest assured, guardrails protect the unwary from a fall that, according to legend, had many lovers succumb seeing a consecration of their passion. It was not, however, in most cases fatal, because the shrubbery broke their falls.
The Hondo has a bronze statue of the bodhisattva Kannon, the eleven heads and one hundred arms, known for her compassion. Like hundreds of the Japanese who entered with you, light a candle for the health and happiness of your family.
The temple of "pure water"
At the end of the main building is a great opportunity for lonely souls in search of true love. The Jishu shrine has two stones separated by eighteen meters. It is said that if a person manages to travel the distance with his/her eyes closed, the chances of finding your soulmate are greatly increased. If successful, but guided by the voice of a third person, you will need an intermediary to find this soulmate. Many young people often try desperately to complete this task!
The final stage of the Kiyomizu circuit the place where the temple earned its name. The Otowa waterfall at the bottom of the stilted terrace comes only after a tumble down a flight of stairs. It alone attracts the swarm of tourists visiting the temple. Its sacred water is reputed to have healing properties and good fortune. Divided into three streams of water, it may be drunk through a long, metal ladle, sterilized by UV light. Each run has a different associated virtue. One brings academic success, another longevity and the last, success in love. However, you may not drink at all racks, as the gods will frown upon your greed, and you would attract dirty looks from the hundred Japanese people watching you.
Upon completion of this course, for those who wish to pursue an adventurous experience, a path runs through the woods to reach the three-story pagoda Koyasu visible from the platform, popular with mothers as it is known to help facilitate childbirth.
Kiyomizu's biggest fans like to repeat their visit in the spring, in August or in the fall, when it is open in the evening and illuminated by multiple lighting arrangements. The mystical impression that emerges strengthened and the aura of Kannon suffers even more.