Get prepared for a little journey through one of the Japanese monuments that stands today above a high hill in eastern Kyoto, Japan. Kiyomizu-Dera temple is an impressive Buddhist temple that invites explorers to get a view of the elaborate cultural and spiritual heritage of the country. Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally “Pure Water Temple”). The Otowa Waterfall is the source of the temple’s name. It was founded in 778 in the wooded hills to the east of Kyoto.

Travel the world: The Kiyomizu-dera Temple - Sheet1
The Kiyomizu-dera Temple Approach in Kyoto _©Kyle Kroeger

Also one of the magnificent features that the temple is renowned for is its wooden stage that affords a panoramic view of Kyoto with the plentiful cherry and maple trees below, which erupt in a sea of color in the spring and fall. The temple’s opening up and its connection with nature, the sensation that the explorer gets from its delicate architecture conveys the impression of ascending into the perfect paradise that the temple’s patrons were longing for and also an intimate connection with nature making it a must-visit destination for travelers want to explore the captivating landscapes.

Travel the world: The Kiyomizu-dera Temple - Sheet2
Kiyomizu-Dera Waterfall in Kyoto_© Discover Kyoto

A religious journey through Biophilic heritage :   

The geographic spread of Japan’s islands ensures that there is considerable diversity in their nature which gives a biophilic sense in its temlpeles. Kiyomizu-dera relies on wood as its main building material because it is readily available and easily recognizable by explorers. Beyond just being aesthetically pleasing architecturally and naturally, Kiyomizu-dera has a strong connection with Japanese Buddhism. The temple complex offers an oasis of peace for meditation and prayer, with numerous halls and shrines devoted to various Buddhist deities. In connection with nature and Buddhist beliefs, you can find the Otowa Waterfall located at the base of Kiyomizudera’s Kondo – Main Golden Hall-. Its waters are divided into three distinct streams, and visitors drink from them using cups that are fastened to long poles. The water from each stream is said to bring about various benefits, such as long life, academic success, and good luck in love relationships. Buddhism believes that it is greedy to drink from all three streams. 

Kiyomizu-Dera Niomon Gate Temple in Kyoto_©Ayyeee Ayyeee

Exploring the respiratory religious images 

As you move through the complex of the temple, you will come across different halls and shrines honoring Buddhist deities. The Pagoda – 3 storyes hall with large entrance gates – and the Zuigudo Hall contained symbolic relics of Buddha’s mother. Among the other buildings on the comprehensive temple grounds is Okunoin Hall which symbolizes a mother’s womb. The temple complex has multiple shrines within its engaging journey, including the Jishu Shrine, dedicated to Ōkuninushi, a god of love and “good matches. Jishu Shrine possesses a pair of “love stones” placed 10 meters apart which lonely visitors can try to walk between with their eyes closed. Success in reaching the other stone with their eyes closed implies that the pilgrim will find love or true love.

Conclusion

At the end of the journey to The Kiyomizu-Dera Temple, the approach to Kiyomizudera via the narrow, winding streets of the charming Higashiyama District adds a delightful element to the explorer’s experience. through ancient times, the area’s numerous stores and eateries have welcomed visitors and pilgrims. Also, local specialties like pottery, candies, and pickles are sold there, in addition to the typical assortment of souvenirs.

Image Sources

Image 01: Photo by Kyle Kroeger from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/temple-1673978/ (2018) Online] [Accessed on 8th of December 2023]

Image 02: Photo by Ayyeee Ayyeeee from Pexels: Photo by Ayyeee Ayyeee from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/kiyomizu-dera-niomon-gate-temple-in-kyoto-17080578/ (2023) Online] [Accessed on 8th of December 2023]

Image 03: Photo by Discover Kyoto:https://www.discoverkyoto.com/places-go/kiyomizu-dera/  Online [Accessed on 8th of December 2023]

Sources

Fazio, M., Moffett, M. and Wodehouse, L. (no date) ‘Chapter 4’, in A World History Of Architecture, pp. 94–96. 

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple in the New Era: Bringing Culture and Sincerity Together for an Era of Peace | Kyoto City Official Travel Guide (2021). https://kyoto.travel/en/see-and-do/eigenonishi_kiyomizudera.html [Accessed: 08/ 11/ 2023]

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple in the New Era: Bringing Culture and Sincerity Together for an Era of Peace | Kyoto City Official Travel Guide (2021). https://kyoto.travel/en/see-and-do/eigenonishi_kiyomizudera.html [Accessed: 08/ 11/ 2023]

Island Hopper TV Travel Highlights (2023) Kiyomizu Dera Temple in Kyoto Japan 2023. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07iDBEYClFU.[ Accessed: 08/ 11/ 2023]

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