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Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist Temple
Official Website (online March 2014) ..... UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994
every Japanese municipality has at least one Buddhist temple, while
large cultural centers like Kyoto have several thousands.
Kiyomizudera (literally "Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. Present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu.
Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance. The main hall, which together with the stage was built without the use of nails, houses the temple's primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon.
The Deva gate and three-storied pagoda ... Curved eaves
Deva gate: temple gate guarded by fierce Deva Kings.
Deva (pronounced DAY va): In Buddhism is one of many different types of non-human beings who share the characteristics of being more powerful, longer-lived, and, in general, living more contentedly than the average human being.
Shisa are believed to protect from some evils. When in pairs, the left shisa traditionally has a closed mouth, the right one an open mouth. The open mouth wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth keeps good spirits in.
Steps leading to the shōrō, at left, and pagoda, on right.
Shōrō containing the bonsho bell which is hit with a large wooden hammer or log that is swung on ropes ... Three details below:
Shōrō: #1 of three details
Shōrō: #2 of three details - Tokyo
"The bells vary in size, with the biggest dwarfing people standing next to them. They are typically housed in their own special outdoor chamber [shōrō], and hit with a large wooden hammer or log that is swung on ropes. The bells are rung in the morning and evening to help indicate the time, and usually rung 18, 36, or 108 times. It is believed that the worries in peoples’ hearts total 108." - Examiner.com (online March 2014)
Steps leading to the pagoda (at right).
3-tiered Pagoda ... Stone lanterns
The three-storied Koyasu Pagoda stands among the trees in the far southern end of the temple grounds, and a visit is said to bring about an easy and safe childbirth.
Tsukubai: a small basin provided in Japanese Buddhist temples for visitors to purify themselves by the ritual washing of hands and rinsing of the mouth.
Gilded lotus finial above kawara cermaic tiles
Onigawara ... End tiles
Main hall (Hondo) and stage.
The main hall houses the temple's primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy.
Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The stage was built using a special method; huge 12-meter high keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) pillars were assembled without using a single nail and the floor was installed using more than 410 cypress boards.The stage affords visitors a nice view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below that erupt in a sea of color in spring and fall, as well as of the city of Kyoto in the distance.
Te popular expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression "to take the plunge." This refers to an Edo period (1603-1867) tradition that held that, if one were to survive a 13m jump from the stage, one's wish would be granted. Two hundred thirty-four jumps were recorded in the Edo period and, of those, 85.4% survived. The practice is now prohibited.
Note thick ropes connected to gongs - detail below:
Thick rope connected to gong on wooden stage.
Wooden stage angled wooden roof
Many devout worshippers stand beneath the waterfall to perform the rite of cold water ablution while worshipping Fudo Myoo (the God King of Fire) who is enshrined at the waterfall's fount.
The Otowa Waterfall is located at the base of Kiyomizudera's main hall. Its waters are divided into three separate streams, and visitors use cups attached to long poles to drink from them. Each stream's water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy.