the wooden main hall of Kiyomizu-dera
Kyoto, day four (March 27th): we had a few hours in Kyoto in the morning before we would have to head back to the airport to get to Tokyo, so we woke up early to head to Kiyomizu-dera. The temple at Kiyomizu, whose name means “temple of the clear water” is one of the most famous in Japan. There is a saying in Japanese, to leap from the stage at Kiyomizu, which is similar to the English phrase, “take the plunge.” This refers to the Edo Period practice of leaping from the stage of the main hall to achieve your wish. According to Wikipedia, there are 234 recorded cases of people jumping from the platform, of whom 85% lived to tell the tale. As you can see from this photograph, we arrived before the cherry blossoms had bloomed here, but in another week or two, the hillside would have been draped in pink blossoms.
Across from the main hall, the Koyasu Pagoda is visible. This wooden pagoda, whose condition has fallen into slight disrepair, is often visited by expectant mothers praying for an easy childbirth. At Kiyomizu you can also see many statues of Jizo, the protector of unborn children.
Sanju-no-to three-storied pagoda – Koyasu-no-to pagoda – Otowa-no-taki
The clear springs at Kiyomizu, called Otowa-no-taki, or Otowa waterfall, are reputed to have great power to bring the drinker health, longevity, and success. Many students come here to drink to their academic success. Although the line to drink from Otowa-no-taki is often quite long, we arrived before the crowds.
Jishu Jinja – walking between the “blind stones”
Jishu Jinja is a shrine at Kiyomizu that is famous matchmaking. There are two stones at the shrine: it is said that if you can walk blindly between the stones you will find true love or will soon marry your partner. Of course, this shrine, and the blind stones in particular, are very popular with young women.
Jishu-jinja – a student tour group
We arrived just after 8:00 in the morning and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere at the temple when there were few visitors. Shortly after we arrived, however, a girls’ high school tour group arrived. Suddenly everything took on a different tone with chattering schoolgirls everywhere. But they do look so cute in the pictures.