November 23, 2013

Kyoto : Kiyomizu-dera & Jishu Shrine

One of the most famous landmarks of Kyoto is Kiyomizu-dera. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also one of the finalist for the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. Needless to say, it sits high on everybody's itinerary in Kyoto (read: very crowded!).

This Kita Hosso sect temple was founded in 778. The present buildings are reconstruction of the original, rebuilt in 1633.

Nio-mon Gate, the main entrance to Kiyomizu-dera

It's main attraction is the veranda, which extends out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. Supported by wooden pillars, not a single nail was used in the construction. :O  So amazing right? Thinking of how the wood constructions survive for almost 400 years in rain, wind and earthquakes, and support the crowds visiting it.

Hondo, the Main Hall of Kiyomizu-dera

Anyway, I didn't think much of the no nail structure when I was on the veranda. I was so engrossed with the view around me, Kyoto city in the distance and the valley below. Although I could only see the bare cherry trees, I could imagine how wonderful the view would be during cherry blossom. Note to self : MUST VISIT Kyoto in sakura season next time!!

Beneath the main hall is the Otowa Waterfall, where its waters fall into a pond in three separate streams. See the long queue?

Visitors lined up to drink the sacred Otowa Water from a ladle. Each stream is said to have a different benefit; longevity, wisdom and a fortunate love life. But don't drink all! It's considered as greedy and will give you bad luck.

Notice the crane? Currently the buildings at the temple are being renovated in stages so some areas are closed to the public. And spoilt my photos.

Other structures on the temple grounds include the Okunoin Hall (renovated at the time being), Belfry, the three-tiered Pagoda, which are all designated as Important Cultural Properties.
Pagoda of Kiyomizu-dera
Koyasu Pagoda from a distance

Koyasu Pagoda under renovation

walking path to Koyasu Pagoda
the togel trees
not sure what is this
walking path around the temple ground

also not sure what is this

temple ground

on the way out

closed for the day

Kiyomizu-dera is open all year round
Visiting hours from 6 am to 6 pm
Entrance fee is 300 yen
Access : From Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City Bus #206 or Raku Bus #100 to Gojo-zaka and walk about 10 minutes uphill

 Sharing the same ground with the temple is Jishu Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. No wonder it was so full of young girls. Everybody's looking for lurveeeee! hehe..

Jishu Shrine is small but it is packed with features.

Okuninushino-mikoto - a Japanese god who is in charge of love and good matches. The rabbit beside him is the messenger of the god.

There's a pair of stones in front of the shrine, placed 18 meters apart. Try walking from one stone to another. They say if you managed to reach the other stone successfully with your eyes closed, you will find true love. You can ask for help, but if someone else guides you from one stone to the other, it means you need help in finding love as well.

I tried walking on my own, just for fun, but missed it. T_T #foreveralone

Write down your problems on the paper, and place it in the water. Your problems will be cleared up when the paper dissolves in the water. Nice eh if it's really true. I have sooo many problems now!

Pat the bronze statue, Nade-Daikoku-san, and your prayer will be answered.

Opposite Nade-Daikoku-san is the Okage-Myojin, the god who will grant prayers, particularly for ladies. During the Edo period, women would sometimes visit the shrine at 2 am and nail a straw doll to the cedar tree in order to curse their enemies.

Ema plaques
Water-splash Jizo (Mizukake Jizo)

This is actually a Buddhist statue but it's been at the shrine since a long time ago.

 Jishu Shrine is open all year round
Visiting hours from 9 am to 5 pm
Entrance to the shrine is free
Access : From Kyoto Station, take Kyoto City Bus #206 or Raku Bus #100 to Gojo-zaka and walk about 10 minutes uphill

Many people thought Jishu Shrine is part of Kiyomizu-dera, but actually both are completely a different institution. One is a Shinto Shrine, and the other one is a Buddhist Temple. But anyhow, it's on the same ground so visit to one is not complete without visit to the other.

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