Next iconic Kyoto temple on my list is Kiyomizu dera (音羽山清水寺) located at Otowa Mountain. The temple name “Kiyomizu” literally means pure water and it was founded before Kyoto became the Imperial Capital. The historic temple had endured a turbulent past – being destroyed and rebuilt many times.
And Kiyomizu dera stands today as one of the most popular temples frequent by both devotees and tourists. This Buddhist temple listed in UNESCO world heritage sites is yet another must-see in Kyoto.
The uphill walk from the bus stop to the temple ground takes around 15mins, provided you don’t stop to check out the shops along the way. The charming narrow streets leading to Kiyomizu dera are populated with shops selling souvenirs, pottery, candies, snacks, ice cream among many others.
The famous stage of Kiyomizu dera
Besides being a superb place to enjoy the panoramic view of Kyoto, the renowned Kiyomizu stage is also famous for how it was constructed. Apparently, the impressive wooden-decked stage was built without using a single nail, how cool is that?
There was even a past tradition for people to jump off the 13 meters tall stage which they believed that surviving the fall would make their wishes come true. Seriously?? Thank goodness such practice has been banned!
Hondo or the main hall which houses the statue of eleven-faced Kannon (Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy) with thousand arms.
A short walk from the main hall is Otowa Waterfall. The water flowing down from the waterfall will split into three streams when it reaches the pavilion. It is said to have wish-granting power when one drinks the water.
There’s a long queue to drink the water using a ladle while we are there. When it’s your turn to drink, fill your cup from one of the 3 streams (from left to right) Longevity, Health or Intelligence. But don’t be greedy and drink from all three because it’s believed that none of the benefits will be granted when one does that.
The popular love shrine, Jishu Jinja is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. There are two love rocks placed around 5 meters apart, singles can try to walk from one rock to another with their eyes closed. Success in doing so means the person will be blessed to find true love. Kinda cheesy but we see many people trying to do that.