Autumn 2021. In our Grand Scheme of Travels, Danny and I had planned to be in Japan with Michel. Quod non. So let’s go back to March and April 2013, when my sister Florence, her husband Kenneth, my nephew Leo and my niece Isaline travelled to Tokyo, Hakone and Kyoto. The classic intro to Nippon and a golden opportunity. I grew up with anime such as ‘Dragon Ball‘ and ‘Saint Seiya‘ on television and Japan had been on my wish list since I was little. There’s a lot I don’t remember. But thanks to photos on Facebook, my guidebook and check-ins on Swarm (Foursquare), I can reconstruct parts of that trip.
After the Shinto Fushimi Inari Shrine, we visited the Buddhist Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. Have you noticed the word ‘shrine’ is used for a Shinto place of worship and ‘temple’ for a Buddhist place of worship.
Kiyomizu-dera was founded in the early Heian period. The temple was founded in 778 by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu.
There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.
The main hall has a large veranda, supported by tall pillars, that juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city.
Beneath the main hall is the Otowa waterfall, where three channels of water fall into a pond. Visitors can catch and drink the water, which is believed to have wish-granting powers.
The temple complex includes several other shrines, among them the Jishu Shrine, dedicated to Ōkuninushi, a god of love and ‘good matches’.
Jishu Shrine possesses a pair of ‘love stones’ placed ten meters apart, which lonely visitors can try to walk between with their eyes closed. Success in reaching the other stone with their eyes closed implies that the pilgrim will find love, or true love.
One can be assisted in the crossing, but this is taken to mean that a go-between will be needed. The person’s romantic interest can assist them as well.
The complex also offers various talismans, incense, and omikuji (paper fortunes). The site is particularly popular during festivals (especially at New Year’s and during obon in the summer) when additional booths fill the grounds selling traditional holiday foodstuffs and souvenirs to throngs of visitors.
2013 Japan Family Trip
- JAPAN 2013 | Solo in Tokyo.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Ueno Park and the Shibuya Crossing.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Sensō-ji, Hamarikyu Gardens and the Imperial Palace East Gardens.
- JAPAN 2013 | Meiji Shrine and Harakuju in Tokyo.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo ft. Tsukiji Fish Market, Ginza, Zōjō-ji Temple, Tokyo Tower and traditional restaurant Jomon in Roppongi.
- JAPAN 2013 | Tokyo – Hakone by train.
- JAPAN 2013 | Hakone Yumoto – Lake Ashi – Owakudani.
- JAPAN 2013 | Hakone Yumoto Onsen Tenseien.
- JAPAN 2013 | Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Path and Anraku-ji Temple.
- JAPAN 2013 | Kyoto’s Ginkaku-ji or Temple of the Silver Pavilion.
- JAPAN 2013 | Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.