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October 13, 2005
Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Part 1)
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

OK, catching up on my Kyoto posts finally. I'm definitely having a 'hair on fire' week at the business.

Kiyomizu Temple is another of the very famous temples in Kyoto. Legendarily, it was founded in 798 by the Hosso Buddhist sect inspired by the goddess Kannon and sponsored by the warrior Tamuramaro.

It has been ravaged by fire - both natural and due to war - over the centuries. It was substantially restored in the early 1600's and major restorations were continued during the Tokagawa Shogunate.

Restoration continues through the present - for the last 30 years or so many of the temples and sub-temples in this large complex have been under construction.

The photographs on the web that I've seen of this temple area are, for the most part, extraordinarily bad (perhaps because of the light dynamics of the area). I hope that I will not add to their number here.


Kiyomizu is another area in which I saw massive crowds everywhere...


This is the main entrance gate - called the Nioman Gate (Benevolent Kings Gate), it is a garish bright orange/red color (and why it is also called Aka-mon (Red Gate)).


To the right of the main gate is the Sai-mon (West Gate) a pagoda completed in the 1633 construction/restoration.


From the interior of the main gate looking to the west gate...


From the top of the west gate steps looking back - you can see the extraordinary juxtaposition of the old and the new.


After walking around a large construction area, I arrive at the Hon-do (main hall) area. This is where you pay the 300 yen or so to go beyond.


Upon entering the main hall, we meet our first denizen...


and look out across the broad veranda and massive columns of the cantilevered main hall (you can see a construction crane in the distant center). There is a saying in Japan (that I don't presently know in Japanese) about being committed to one's enterprise that in essence says "I'm so committed to this that I am about to jump off of the veranda at Kiyomizu temple." Being there adds considerable weight to such a claim.


Most gather around for the beautiful view of the valley below.


Farther to the north and east is the hillside backdrop to the view below...


Direclty east from the veranda platform...


In the eastern distance can be seen the pagoda Koyasu-no-to.


And to the southeast - in the afternoon glare - is the city of Kyoto - remember Kyoto tower near my hotel? There it is in the distance.


There's a bit of constant activity down below - I'll have to get down there somehow to check that out.

Next, we'll go beyond the main hall, see a Shinto shrine area and other subtemples to the rear of Hon-do.

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People Pulling

I love the juxtaposition picture! There's a couple that could have taken vertically, but they're all pretty good. I think that you have elevated the level of temple photography on the web!

Ok, now back to the laundry...

EMCEE: Jan, thanks for the good words. I really didn't mean to sound arrogant about pix quality. I was doing some history reaearch for my post and hit on site after site of terribly overexposed or downright dull pix. It's such a beautiful place that it deserves much better. I somehow want to capture the beauty of these places and bring it out to share with others. That's a really difficult thing to do.

Posted by: jlb at Oct 13, 2005 4:17:43 PM

I, myself, have taken a lot of merely fair pics of Kiyomizudera, and am very glad to have run across yours (via SondraK, of course).

Thanks for the お土産.

EMCEE: Thank you Kobekko.


Posted by: kobekko at Oct 13, 2005 10:04:15 PM

Ooops. I should have specified that my remarks above were in regard to your initial comment, and that your pics are vastly superior.


EMCEE: Kobekko: オーケーです。... Also can you explain 'tsu-ma' (っま) to me? I read as: 'tsu-ma' side it does...

Posted by: kobekko at Oct 13, 2005 10:07:03 PM

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