Kiyomizu Temple 清水寺
After arriving at Hirakata and sleeping in late, my friends and I went to Kyoto to see Kiyomizu temple. 清水寺 (kiyomizu-dera) was one of the places I wanted to go while I was studying abroad there in 2010, but never got the chance.
Kiyomizu is one of the most popular temples in Kyoto along with the Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion). The impression I got is that Kiyomizu is all about making dreams come true (not in the Disney theme park sense).
Ema (絵馬) are wooden boards on which you write your wishes for the new year. The year of the rabbit is coming to an end, and soon it’ll be the year of the dragon. These Ema are left over from the start of this year (hence the rabbits). Soon they’ll be replaced with new dragon Ema.
I forgot to take a picture of the best shrine. There’s one that is comprised of two stones—placed 6 meters apart—and the idea is that if you can walk from one to the other with your eyes closed, you’ll find true love. If you need someone to help guide you to the other stone, that means that you’ll need somebody to help you find your true love.
If you’ve ever seen a photo of Kiyomizu-dera it was probably from this angle. It’s from a walkway on the mountain overlooking Kiyomizu’s main temple with Kyoto in the background.
You’ll notice that there is a pretty significant drop from that ledge. It’s about 13 meters from the ground. An Edo period legend holds that if you survive the fall, your dream will be granted. Although Wikipedia states that you have an 85.4% chance of surviving the fall (based on jumper records), the landing zone isn’t the most welcoming thing in the world.
After Kiyomizu-dera we walked around the area and had lunch at this super-small Japanese restaurant (3 tables small). We went to another temple and then headed into Kyoto proper for dinner.
All told, a successful outing to one of the most famous temples in Japan. More adventures to come soon.