Kiyomizu-dera Temple

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Points of View
(1)The scenery from the stage of the main building
(2)The scenery from another building at the back
(3)The scenery from the bottom of the main building

This temple is the most popular for visitors to Kyoto. There are always lots of people in the temple, many of them taking pictures on the stage of the main structure. One of its greatest attractions is the continuous change of scenery as one moves around its precinct. Now, let’s take a look at these changes of scenery.

To access the temple, you go up a long gentle slope towards the temple from the bus stop. This narrow upward street is lined with many shops selling souvenirs, and is always full of tourists. The view is restricted because of the upward slope and the numerous shops. Moving up the hill for a while, the approach curves gradually, and then the view suddenly opens up. A gate, a tower and many stairs leading to the gate dramatically appear against the forested mountains.

Climbing these stairs and the slope that follows, you reach the ticket booth. After buying a ticket, you pass through dim corridors and reach the slight darkness of the main structure. As you approach the stage, the scenery opens up to give a good view of it and you can see the well-known stage. There is no roof over the extended veranda, and its floor slopes slightly towards the outside. Standing on the floor of the stage, you can see the rich forest near the mountain to the left and the whole of Kyoto city to the right. The spectacular view is the highlight of this temple.

Leaving the stage and walking along a little, you reach another building, the Okuno-in. Here, you can enjoy a better look at the scenery combining the whole city, the overall structure of the main temple and the surrounding nature. Standing on this veranda, you see that the roof of the main temple is massive, that one side of the structure stands on a vertical rock face, and that the stage of the main building is supported by many pillars and beams. The rock face is almost as high as a four-story building.

After enjoying the scenery from this stage, you go down a zigzag slope where you can also enjoy cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn leaves in the autumn.

Incidentally, the stage of the main hall was used not only for taking in the magnificent vista, but was also originally designed and built for projecting court dancing and music towards heaven, towards the deity. Fantastically, all dancing and music was only for the sake of the deity rather than for the people.

The main gate and the tower that appear suddenly after the walk up the souvenir shop-flanked street, the impressive panoramic vista from the veranda after moving through the dim corridors and the inside of the main hall, the sweeping view of the main hall from Okuno-in over the ravine, and the change of view from Okuno-in down to the slope. Moving around the site, the dramatic change in scenery feels like a trip in itself. This is the best attraction in Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

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