Kiyomizu-dera is the most popular temple in
all of Kyoto and it’s usually crowded – lots of tour groups there.
This video was photographed in the off-season which was the first week of December and even
then it was fairly busy — comfortable, nice to have some other people around, so no problem,
but if you’re here in the peak season during the summer in the middle of the day there
will be so many people you’ll have a hard time getting to the railing to enjoy a clear
view of the beautiful scenery. The main hall is the most spectacular single
item here. It’s up on large wooden stilts and designated as a national treasure.
Large verandas and main halls like this were constructed at many popular sites in the past
to accommodate large numbers of pilgrims. And then we have the views looking out across
from the main hall into downtown. Looking up towards the temple which is up
on the hillside. An old tradition that held that if you could
survive a 13 meter jump from the stage, your wish would be granted. Over 200 people jumped,
most of them surviving, but that practice is now prohibited.
You can also buy good luck charms and various kiosks here and omikugi which are the paper
fortunes, and incense and various other talismans. Shoppers will be kept quite busy at the various
kiosks and you can also get a bite to eat at some of the food stands.
The word Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water. The Otowa waterfall runs off the nearby
hills in three channels of water that fall into a fountain. Visitors can catch and drink
the water, which is believed to have wish-granting powers. And it’s said you will gain health,
longevity, and success in studies by drinking from the three different streams.
These typical incense burners offer a smoke that’s designed to chase away the evil spirits.
The temple is actually so old that it predates Kyoto itself. It dates back to the 700s, before
Kyoto was founded as a city. Of course the structures have been rebuilt numerous times
since then. Most of the structures have been rebuilt numerous times since then. There are
some 30 buildings here and most were constructed in the early Edo period, in the early 1630s.
And the different altars and shrines within the temple grounds — Images of the Buddha
here and there in the different altars and shrines within the temple grounds.
There’s a Shinto shrine just as part of the temple complex as you often find here, the
Buddhist and the Shinto blended together, the two religions harmoniously coexisting
in Japan. Kiyomizu-dera has something for everyone.
First of all it’s an important religious site where serious pilgrims come to pray; young
people come looking for good fortune; visitors arrive to see the sites; history buffs have
much to admire; shoppers are made happy by vendors; and all fall under the spell of Kyoto’s
most popular temple. During the busy seasons this temple gets extremely
crowded with the tour groups. They come by the busloads. But generally, early December
is a wonderful time to be touring the temples of Kyoto. It’s just not very crowded.
There’s a monk waiting to receive some offerings. This is part of our series on the temples
and gardens of Eastern Kyoto, the Higashiyama district, and also we’ll take you downtown
in some of our other videos. Be sure to look for them on our YouTube channel.