Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Japan: Kiyomizu-dera

 When I got off the bus stop to check out Kiyomizu-dera, one would assume to follow the large shrine through the alleyways.  Woops...I was wrong.  I got a little lost but this gave me an opportunity to walk through an area with beautiful Japanese-style homes.
I really loved their usage of bamboo.

 The closer I got to the temple, the more the homes turned into restaurants and sovenieur shops.
 Found it!
 When traveling alone, one must master the self-portrait shot.  I am constantly jealous of my friend, Amanda's, amazing skill.  I, on the other hand, have some studying to do.
Ok, nice shot except the temple is cut out and there is a joyful Asian in my shot.
 Ok...too low...
 Ok...half of two buildings...
 A little better...
 ehhh...still haven't got a good shot...
 FORGET IT!  Here's a a photo of the pagoda without me!

 Inside the Temple was a seperate shrine, the Jishu Shrine.  The Jishu Shrine is dedicated to the god of good matches.  This temple has many things to do in order to find out if you will have luck in the topic of love. 
 Make your wish to find your soulmate, stay happily married, or have your children get married.
 There were two love stones.  If you could walk from one stone to the other while closing your eyes, you would find love easily and soon.  If you couldn't or had someone help you, love would come, but it would be harder to find and you'd need assistance in finding it.  I wanted to try it; however, this was the most crowded place I went to in all of Japan...I couldn't get to the rock straight even with my eyes open because there were so many people.

 Remember what I said in a previous post?  Ring the bell with the long rope, bow twice, clap twice, bow once more, say your prayer, throw some coins into the offering.

 I tried to look up the significance of this...but couldn't find anything...can anyone enlighten me on this?

 I should have put this photo on the top.  This is the most famous image of Kiyomizu-dera.  The temple dates back to 798 and not one single nail used in the structure.  This temple is very famous in Japan.  Long ago, it was said that if you jumped off this stage and survived, one's wish would be granted.  Two hundred thirty-four jumps were made.  Although I found the statistic that 85.4% of the people survived, it didn't say anything about whether or not their wish really was granted.  This is now prohibited, so maybe we will never know.  It is a common expression in Japanese to say, "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" with the English equivalence of "to take the plunge."

 Again, I couldn't find anything online of the signifcance of the clothes/aprons/?.  I hope someone can tell me after reading this.

This is the Otowa Waterfall where three channels of water flow together to one pond.  It is believed that these waters are therapeutic.  Each one helps you with something either:  wisdom, health, or longevity.  You can drink from two of them, but if you drink from all three--the gods consider it greedy.

Among many other places I visited in Japan, Kiyomizu-dera is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was considered among the 21 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of the World; however, it was not chosen.  I think it was a great place to visit, but I don't think I'd quite name it as a Wonder of the World.  After seeing the Great Wall of expectations are VERY high for it to be a Wonder of the World.

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