Kiyomizu-dera (or Kiyomizudera, 清水寺, (in Japanese temple of pure water) refers to several Buddhist temples, and more commonly refers to the Otowasan Kiyomizudera temple (音 羽山 清水寺) in the city of Kyoto, Japan. The set is part of the Historic Monuments of ancient Kyoto, belonging to the World Heritage Site declared by Unesco.

The Kiyomizu Temple and Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺) Refers to a complex of temples, Buddhist and Shinto but is mainly used for one: the Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺) East of Kyoto, which is one of the most famous places in the city. It was registered in UNESCO World Cultural Heritage in 1994.


The main building of Kiyomizu-dera is famous for its platform, supported by hundreds of pillars, on the hillside, which gives an impressive view of Kyoto. There is also a three-story pagoda and other structures classified.

Below the main building is the Otowa-no-taki Waterfall, from where three canals dive into a pond. Visitors to the temple drink this water in iron cups, water that would have therapeutic properties. It is said that drinking water from the three channels confers health, longevity and success in studies.

The complex contains many other temples of which one of the most famous is the Jishu-jinja (shinto), dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love and "good encounters". Inside the Jishu-jinja are two "love stones" placed eighteen meters apart, a distance that single visitors try to cross with their eyes closed. The accomplishment of this journey is seen as an omen of future love meeting. We can be helped to make the journey, but then it means that an intermediary will be needed to meet the soul mate. The first day of each month, they celebrate a ceremony for the good love.


Kiyomizu-dera originated in 778, towards the end of the Nara era, according to tradition, it was built by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro. The current buildings date from 1633, they were rebuilt by Iemitsu Tokugawa. The temple takes its name from the waterfall inside its enclosure, water from the surrounding hills, kiyoi mizu (清 い 水) Meaning pure water or spring water.

The Kiyomizu-dera was founded at the beginning of the Heian Period. The temple dates from 778, although the current buildings were built in 1633. The temple takes its name from the waterfalls that exist in the complex, which descend from the nearby hills. Kiyomizu (清水) literally means pure water, clean water or clean water.

Originally it was affiliated with the old and influential Hossō sect, which came from the Nara Period. However, in 1965 that affiliation was broken and its current custodians call themselves the members of the "Kitahossō" sect.

Popular culture

The Japanese expression "to jump from Kiyomizu-dera" (清水の舞台から飛び降りる, Kiyomizu no butai kara tobioriru) Is the equivalent of the expression French "to jump into the water". This term originates from a tradition of the Edo period who claimed that if a person survived a jump from the platform of the temple, his wish would come true. During the Edo period, 234 jumps were counted with a survival rate of 85.4%. The jump is, indeed, only fifteen meters, and an important vegetation below the platform can damp the pilgrim. The practice has since been banned.

You can visit the sanctuary at night in summer.

Since 1995 and the Kobe earthquake, the kanji of the year is presented on December 12 at temple.

Its origins are also illustrated so captioned in three illuminated rolls of the xvi century, illustrated Rollers fatal events temple Kiyomizudera.

The sanctuary appears in the film Memoirs of a Geisha by Rob Marshall released in 2005.


The main building of Kiyomizu-dera stands out for its complex architecture and apart, it is supported by hundreds of pillars, which protrudes from the hill and offers stunning views of the city. There is a popular expression, which says: "jump from the Kiyomizu platform" (「清水 の 舞台 か ら 飛 び 降 り る」), which goes back to a tradition of the Edo Period, which means that if one survives by jumping from that platform, A wish will be granted.

Survival seems possible: the lush vegetation under the platform could cushion the fall of a lucky pilgrim, although this practice is currently prohibited. 234 jumps are remembered in the Edo period, and of those, 85.4% survived. The fall has, in effect, only 13 meters, which is impressive for a wooden construction.

Under the main hall is the Otowa-no-taki waterfall, where three water channels fall into a pond. The visitors of the temple take the water from the waterfall, which is thought to have therapeutic properties, in metal or plastic cups. It is said that drinking this water means having health, longevity and success in studies.

The different buildings form a complex where there are several sacred precincts. The most notable is perhaps the Jishu sanctuary (Jishu-jinja), dedicated to Okuninushino-Mikoto, a god of love and "good marriages". This sanctuary has two "stones of love", located 18 feet (6 meters) from each other, a distance that lonely visitors try to circumvent with their eyes closed. The success in reaching the stone on the other side, with your eyes closed, is understood as the omen that the pilgrim will find love. One can be assisted by someone on that stretch, but that is understood as the person will need an intermediary to find it.

It is part of the set of Historical Monuments of ancient Kyoto (cities of Kyoto, Uji and Otsu) declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.

The temple was one of the candidates on the list of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World proposed by the New Open World Foundation of the Swiss Bernard Weber.

"Kiyomizu-dera" is at the 37th Position in this list.

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