Kiyomizadera is part of the Hosso sect of Buddhism, and it is here that the statue of Kannon (God of Mercy) is enshrined.
Founded by Enchin in 778, Kiyomizadera (Pure Water Temple) is one of Japan’s National Heritage Sites, enshrining Kannon Bosatsu (God of Mercy; Bodhisattva). Many of the original buildings do not survive, rebuilt in the 1700s, but one of the most interesting things about its makeup is that not a single nail was used in its construction. There is also a massive three story stage upon which several hundred people in the Edo period jumped from in hopes that their survival would allow the granting of a wish. Naturally, this practice is now prohibited, as only 84% of the people have ever survived the jump.
Erin, Ian, Nicky and I had decided to visit the temple since it is one of the “must see’s” of Kyoto, though we were well aware that what comes with that is massive tourism. It is impossible to get any sort of intimate photographs of the scenery of the temple, as it is always abuzz with throngs of people, therefore making what should be a quiet place quite obnoxiously loud. My favorite part of the temple was where the Kannon is enshrined, as it was quiet and dark and still felt very natural.
Within the temple grounds, there is a famous area that has three small waterfalls, supposedly representing wisdom, health and longevity. If you drink from the water, you are supposed to be endowed with those characteristics... of course, with a line of around thirty people, it didn’t really feel worth the wait. Near the temple grounds is Gion, but we decided to wait for the maples to turn red before going, since its another tourist trap (being the Geisha district).
All in all, a nice location, but probably best viewed in the Fall and Spring, and on a weekday, when there will be less people there crowding the space.