Our final stop for this particular tour was the Kiyomizu-dera temple. It was founded in 798 and dedicated to Juichimen Kannon, the goddess of mercy with eleven faces. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times. The main hall (hondo) existing today was last rebuilt in 1629.

This part of the exhibit was closed to the public, but please note the stairs. To reach the temple, we had to climb several such stairways to reach the main deck illustrated in the picture above.

Climbing the final stairway, we finally reached the top deck of the temple. Continuing around the corner and towards the back, we eventually came to the altar pictured below.


Jennifer takes a moment to reflect and say a small prayer of thanks and good fortune. She is facing a crib with a grated top. You toss in an offering, usually something like a 100 yen coin donation and offer your prayers. You will find similar type alters at most shrines.

Look at the mouse over picture for another view of the temple deck.

Behind us is a stunning view of the city of Kyoto from the top deck of the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. From here, you can look straight down and see the tops of trees and the ground far below them.


Far below, at the bottom of the temple is a small underground spring. The water is quite drinkable and, according to local legend, has mystical life-enhancing properties.

The mouse over picture shows how we approach the stairs (in the background between the two stone lantern posts in the foreground) that lead down to the spring.

Descending from the top deck of the shrine is this long stairway.

It leads directly to the underground spring that gives this temple its name.

The spring is divided into three small trickles flowing through a notch cut into each of three beams protruding out near the roof of the alcove. As you can see, there is a long line of students waiting their turn to sample from the spring by holding out a long handled cup to dip from the flowing water. The legend says that each of the streams has a special property. The right waterfall enhances your intelligence, the middle makes you handsome (or beautiful as the case may be) and the left waterfall gives you a long life.


Even after descending the stairs, we still had a long way to go. Below is a shopping area that has existed since the Edo era of the 1600s.

Due to our lack of Japanese, we had not understood as our Japanese guide explained that we were on our own and would be expected to return to the bus at a certain time. We thought we were suppose to follow her and had now lost her. Afraid that we'd miss our bus, we hurried down the street which is really a steep path down. This photo doesn't give justice to just how sharply the road inclines here.  I stopped to purchase Deb a teapot set and then ran to catch up with Jennifer. As I did, my digital camera popped out from its case and smashed to the ground. But to my relief, even though it was dinged up, it still took perfect pictures.


One of the many shops, but this one had such cute figures and keepsakes from such Miyazaki favorites as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service.