So Many Charms, So Little Time -Kiyomizu Dera

Kiyomizu Dera is a Buddhist temple located in Eastern Kyoto. Just like Arashiyama, this site is on many a traveller’s list of must-sees. Lucky for us, the area was only a 30 minute walk away from our Ryokan. Once we got to the general area of the temple, the walk up was quite a pleasant one. We were not on the main walk up,  but rather a side street with only a small number of other visitors. This meant we could enjoy popping into shops to see what unique wares they had without feeling hassled! On the way down from the temple we opted to go via the main street and found it far too crowded!

Kiyomizu Dera half day trip.jpeg

The ‘Nio-Mon’ / main entrance to Kiyomizu Dera

The temple grounds are divided into various areas, with two main gates, various halls, a love shrine and nature walkways. The most iconic part of the actual Kiyomizu Dera is the large wooden balcony. In the 1700s it was said if you jumped from the balcony and survived your wish would be granted. Unfortunately, just our luck, the main balcony was closed off for restoration. However we did get the chance to go out onto a smaller one and gosh is that a long way down!

Of course it wouldn’t be a visit from me, if I didn’t head to the love shrine. There were a number of various prayer techniques hopeful singles and hopeless romantics could do. From rubbing certain statues (for a donation) to seeing your paper doll of worries dissipate in water (for a donation). You can see where I’m going with this. Perhaps this is overly cynical of me, but I found the site to be overly commercialised. Every corner you turned would be some new and exciting charm you absolutely must have to improve your life. There were about 10 difference charms each for about 500 yen. I don’t know much about charms, but surely it should be enough to get a generic ‘good love life’ one?

Love rock Kiyomizu dera

The only ‘free’ charm was to walk from this stone to its match about 100 metres away with your eyes closed. If you made it your wish would come true, if not your wish was doomed.

On our way down we went along the ‘main’ street. My biggest recommendation is the same as it is every article – try to avoid the big restaurants and cafes. Now, I’m not saying they’re bad, but they’re are so many hidden gems you can come across if you just venture down a random alleyway. For example, tucked far away from the main street was this delightful cafe we stopped at – Otowa Saryo, Asahizaka. At the cafe I had a matcha parfait and some tea, while my mum had a hojica cake and coffee. You can’t quite see from the picture below, as I was focused on the food, but on the side there were sweeping views of Mt Otowa.

As always, thank you for reading  my posts, I hope you’ve been enjoying them. Check back next time for my visit to the Matcha town of ‘Uji’!

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