Kiyomizu-dera (Pure Water Temple) was relatively near the Air BnB place where I was staying. So one very early morning, I cycled there.
I read, very briefly, that Kiyomizu-dera is like the Kinkaku-ji: must visit if one is in Kyoto. But I had gotten lazy, and didn’t read up about the place before I made my way there. I told myself – I will take notes of what I noticed, and learn about them after my visit. So I went with no checklist. If I missed some key spots, then..too bad, I guess.
This is the bee-yoo-ti-ful temple. I didn’t take this photo – this was taken by Agustin Rafael Reyes, when I googled for “really beautiful Kiyomizu-dera”. Autumn had not swung in fully yet, so I missed this gorgeous view. But this is what the temple truly looks like when you get great photographers (Mr Reyes: great job!)
It must be about 7.30am then, and the crowd was missing. Love it when no bobbing bodies and heads block the views. The only problem with an early morning visit was, the shops that line the road towards the temple, were still closed. I think it would have been a promising window-shopping experience: delightful local knick-knacks, and not the run-of-the-mill Uniqlo, Muji, H&M…
A bright, orangey-vermillion coloured entrance gate greeted me, after huffing and puffing uphill for some 10 minutes.
A bright, orangey-vermillion coloured pagoda.
Quiz: why is this colour popular?
Answer: nothing about economic pragmatism (a more sophisticated phrase for: we bought too much vermillion paint, let’s not waste ’em). Apparently, vermillion protects against evil spirits, misfortune and calamity. On a more positive note, the colour is bright and lively. So, why not? I’d say yes to vermillion over pink.
I think this stone statue of angry dragons is supposed to be the protector of this temple. I imagined them at the door of my apartment. Fierce! But that’s probably the last time my neighbours come around with their baked cookies.
The main temple is featured in the 1st picture above, which I did not manage to take (the photo). The interesting feature about this temple is the wooden platform that juts out from the main hall. Below is the view of the “jutting platform” from the ground, looking up. The wow-factor of this temple: it’s built without a single nail! Not sure what is the name of such a construction, but it is mighty marvellous.
Standing on the jutting platform, one can see this view below. It was like standing on trees. Imagine when the leaves respond to autumn’s arrival. It must be breathtaking!
I took walk down these long steps, and right at the base I saw a few people busy cleaning this interesting looking water-spouts.
Actually, they aren’t water spouts. This is the Otowa Waterfall, where the water is divided into 3 separate streams. Each stream of water offers it’s own blessing: longevity, success at school, good love life. And worshippers can drink these waters to: become centurions-plus, to pass exams without studying, and no more dependence on Match.com.
Walking the temple ground, I came across this army of Jizo stone statues. They looked a bit..creepy. There were just too many of them. I walked away quickly.
And I came to Jishu Shrine..the shrine for luuuurve.
This statue is called “Okuninushino-Mikoto” – Cupid’s Japanese counterpart. The biped rabbit is the messenger of the god.
I spent some time at this shrine. Quite a number of interesting things to see. Eg: this “amazing” trouble terminator. Costs only 200 yen per sheet! And it’s not even 200 yen per trouble. I could write really small. Now, if only it were that easy……………………
So I walked between the 2 stones which were placed 18 meters apart. I had to walk with my eyes closed between these 2 stones, and…I will find true love. I did! And that means I will find my Prince Charming without having to kiss any frog, nor any poison apple stuck in my throat. A good deal indeed!
P.S. Kiyomizu-dera is 1,000+ years old. No mistake in the zeroes.