Pure Water Temple

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Kiyomizudera or the Pure Water Temple in Kyoto looks out to impressive views and brings forward the love of water manifested in architecture. Built with solid wooden logs in a visibly complex structure the temple is reached from the highest level and then descend downwards. The water collected on the roof of the temple is further directed down to the drains through water chains. The temple is ancient with weathered wooden logs and beautiful in case of it’s surrounds. Interlocking wooden base is the winning element as is the dialogue with water present at every scale. The stage that looks down 13 m is the reason for the popular expression in Japan, “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu” meaning the same as the English equivalent of “to take the plunge”. And blind superstition held that taking the plunge, literally jumping off the stage granted one’s wishes. 234 jumps were recorded during the Edo period, of which 85.4% survived, I presume the rest wished to die!

However the practice is now forbidden but for the superstitiously inclined the host of shrines at the temple include the Jishu shrine, the God of love and of good matches, that possesses a pair of love stones laid 18 m apart. The belief lays that walking from one stone to the other with eyes closed with success ensures that one will find love, or more precisely true love! Descending down from the main hall is the Otowa waterfall where three channels of water fall into a pond. Drinking the water is believed to grant the wishes. For a temple doused with so many superstitions it made it to the 21 finalists of the seven wonders but missed by the whisker! The wooden log understructure is brilliant and the heavy wooden logs a wonder in itself.


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