Higashiyama-ku, Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto WH, Temples-Shrines — January 14, 2011 at 9:29 PM

Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto!


Kiyomizu-dera, which means ‘Pure Water Temple’, is one of Western Japan’s Kan’non pilgrimage sites and also is one of the seventeen World Cultural Heritage sites in Japan. Kiyomizu-dera, which receives nearly four million visitors annually, is a beautiful temple surrounded by trees and nature, which can be enjoyed throughout the seasons in equally beautiful ways.
Kiyomizu-dera was established in 778, during the Heian period, and includes buildings from the 15th to 17th centuries, including Jishu, which are jinja shrines. Kiyomizu-dera used to be a sub-temple of Kofuku-ji in Nara that had a feud with Enryaku-ji, and was involved in the factional strife from around the year 999. The fires in 1146 and 1165 which destroyed Kiyomizu-dera were set by the followers of Enryaku-ji. Also, most of its buildings were burned down by fires in the war of 1469 and again by a fire in 1629. The third shogun, Tokugawa Iemitsu, who is famous for establishing peace after years of strife, rebuilt the buildings from the years 1631 to 1633. 
One of the most notable sites of Kiyomizu-dera is the main hall, Hondo, which is a Japanese national treasure. The principal image in the main hall is shown to the public only once in 33 years, or other special events, and no photos are available to the public. Hondo is built in the ‘stage’ style, and is to be noted for its beautiful background scenery which changes with each of the four seasons, including the cherry blossoms and lush greenery of spring.Another famous site in Kiyomizu is the ‘Kiyomizu Stage’ – a huge veranda which offers a gorgeous and breath-taking view of the city of Kyoto below. There is a proverb in Japan about the famous verandah ‘Kiyomizu Stage’; “To jump off the veranda of Kiyomizu-dera”, which means, “to do a drastic thing taking an enormous risk”, or “to make a grave determination”. Kiyomizu-dera also has fifteen buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties, including the inner Temple, Okunoin; Amida Buddha Hall, Amidado; and the three-tired pagoda.

a souvenir shop shop on the way to Kiyomizu-dera

Enjoy the wide expanses of Kiyomizu-dera, as you spend a luxurious afternoon looking at cultural sites and breathing in the fresh, refreshing air.

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