Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kiyomizudera, and the Jishu Shrine (Photo-essay)

Many moons ago -- decades ago even -- I paid my first visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.  With my uncle as the guide (literally -- as he worked for a travel company), a cousin and I went along with a bunch of others on a 9 day whirlwind tour of South Korea (two days!) and Japan (one whole week!).

My memories of the Japan component tour include our having visited Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Beppu and Mount Aso on Kyushu, and Kyoto, Lake Biwa and Tokyo over on Honshu.  Strange but true: the Kyushu locales were the ones that registered stronger in my brain.  And while I knew for some time now that my first time in Tokyo had involved staying in a hotel in the Ginza district and going to view the Imperial Palace, albeit from afar, it was only after I did some research for my most recent trip to Kyoto that I realized that the sections of that old city visited on my first visit were Kiyomizudera and the surrounding Hiyagashima District.

Even with the knowledge of my having visited there before, I still felt obliged to visit that famous Buddhist temple on my recent Kyoto vacation.  And even though, in truth, I could have done without the crowds in the most famous parts of that temple, the truth of the matter is that I did feel that I had a pretty good experience there, not least because I did find other sections in that area there that were quieter and/or yielded sights and general experiences that were to my liking -- including at the nearby but pretty distinct and different Jishu shrine... ;b

View of Kiyomizudera that includes the famous wooden balcony
that juts out from the main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below

 A more close-up view of the crowded wooden balcony

 View from inside Kiyomizudera's main hall out to
the wooden balcony and beyond

 Kiyomizudera's main building is one that
artists clearly are attracted to and inspired by

 View from the wooden terrace of another of
Kiyomizu's famous sections: i.e., the Otowa Waterfall

 In a quieter, off the beaten track area of Kiyomizu,
I found this collection of stone Buddhas

 And although it may look like it's located within -- and is
part of --  Kiyomizudera, go under the large stone torii and 
you'll find yourself in the separate and different Jishu Shrine

 A fun and cheerier place, to my mind, the charms for sale there
make it very clear that Jishu Shrine is dedicated to love :)


sarah bailey knight said...

hi ytsl,

OMG, the crowd at Kiyomizudera the day M and I visited was so packed with Japanese school boys we could hardly get thru the wooden balcony. Later exploring the surrounding grounds we found much fewer people.

YTSL said...

Hi sarah sbk --

Woah, sounds like the crowds I contended with at Kiyomizudera were nothing compared with what you and M had to! And there I was thinking that Kiyomizudera (and Sanjusangendo) had the worst crowds of the places I visited! :O