Kiyomizu-dera is probably the most famous temple in ancient Kyoto, with over 3 million visitors per year. The temple was named after a miraculous spring gushing out in the Otowa Mountains and flowing down Otowa Waterfall. The spring is where the founders Gyoei-koji and Enchin-shonin practiced meditation by sitting under a water fall. Today its waters are divided into three separate streams.
Each stream's water is said to have a different benefit, "longevity", "fulfillment in love", and "academic progress". Visitors are advised to take a sip of one of the three waters at a time. If you have two sips, blessing would be reduced to half. If you have three sips, blessing would be reduced to a third. If you greedily drink more than one stream water, you are not entitled to any benefit. The advice reflects the old teaching that you should not be greedy. Before drinking the stream water, you are recommended to humbly bow to Gyoei-koji enshrined behind Otowa Waterfall and purify your body and soul.
The Hondo (Main Hall) is better known as Kiyomizu-no-Butai (Kiyomizu Stage). The Butai is the central part of the overhang transept of the Hondo, built in a special method where 139 keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) pillars were assembled without using a single nail. Kiyomizu Stage symbolizes seriousness in making wishes, as expressed by an idiom "Jump down from Kiyomizu Stage." The idiom dates back to a kind of folk religion in the Edo period: if you leave your life in the hand of Kannon and jump down from the stage, your life will be saved and your prayer will be answered to. In the cotemporary meaning, the phrase is interpreted as "Be brave to challenge." Whether or not you believe the folk religion, you need the courage and motivation to jump from such height.
At the same time, the view of Kyoto from this stage is superb. You can enjoy the changing scenery of Ancient Kyoto in the four seasons. You are also recommended to visit the temple when it is illuminated for incredible night view. As special night opening dates and hours change every year, you had better check on it beforehand.
Image Gallery: Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Description: Kiyomizu-dera Temple
|Sights||Kiyomizu-dera Temple (清水寺)|
1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 075-551-1234|
|Closed dates||7 days open|
|Admission Fee||Pay admission: 300yen|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|