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Notes on the Geography of Japan: Kiyomizu

Kiyomizu, or "clear water," was established in 805, though the grand main building was re-erected in 1633. It stands on a cliff, where it is supported by a below-floor lattice of massive timbers. Its great fame arises in part because it's the only major temple in Kyoto associated with the minor Hosso sect, so adherents of the bigger local sects don't mind visiting what amounts to a non-rival.

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Japan: Kiyomizu picture 1

The main temple atop its perch.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 2

From another angle, showing its support structure.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 3

Up top, the lattice-supported platform. The view is toward central Kyoto, a mile on the two in the distance.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 4

The interior of the temple is seriously dark, despite being open on the porch side and lit by many lamps.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 5

The naijin--inner sanctuary--of the main hall, or hondo. The principal image is Kannon--11 faces, 1,000 arms--but it is only shown once every 33 years.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 6

One of the sources of Art Nouveau?

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 7

Looking over the railing of the temple and down to the Otawa-no-taki, or "sound of feathers waterfall." It's the source of the "pure water" that gives the temple its name.

Japan: Kiyomizu picture 8

On the approach, a dragon fountain. The dippers are for public use.

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