A Visual Guide to Japan – Kiyomizu Temple and Jishu Shrine

Text and photos by Mike Sullivan

Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺), which is officially known as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺) is located in Kyoto and is one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and a UNESCO World Heritage site. A temple has always been here since the 8th century and the current temple that we can see today was constructed in the 17th century. Unbelievably there wasn’t a single nail used for making it! There is a wooden stage from which people used to jump from, but which today is used as a viewing platform to see all of the beautiful trees and of course the city of Kyoto.

Behind the main hall you can find Jishu Shrine. You may wonder why this shrine is so noteworthy out of all the shrines in Japan, but if you are single then you might want to read on!

The Jishu shrine is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking! It is a very popular place for all single people to go to when they are in Kyoto. Just in front of the shrine you will find two stones which have been placed about 18 meters apart. You have to close your eyes and walk from one stone to the other, if you successfully make your way to the second stone you will get luck in finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. If you get someone to help you it means that you will need someone’s help in finding love in life.

Below the wooden stage and main hall of the temple you can see the Otowa Waterfall. It has been divided into three different streams from which you can drink the water using a cup attached to a long pole. The three streams have individual properties, so drinking from one will help long life, another will give you success in school or work and a third will also help your love life. Be warned though, if you drink from all three then it appears greedy and will lessen the benefits of drinking this special water!