May 21, 2012 If there’s one temple to visit in Kyōto, I was told, it would be Kiyomizudera, 清水寺, temple of pure water. After my morning spent tracing the western outline of Honshū along the Sea of Japan, I alighted from my train in Kyōto, stored my bags in coin lockers in the train station, and took a bus to near the temple.  Trekking up the hill I passed dozens of tourist shops and vendors, but they finally gave way to a grand temple entrance guarded by stone lions. Not as ornate as the Toshogu Shrine near Nikko, and more refined than the temples of Takao-san, Kiyomizudera was stately and quiet.  The omiyage shops seemed mostly clustered outside of its gates, and while there were a good deal of tourists there, they seemed more focused, intentional, and subtle than the ones seen at Toshogu or Takao-san.  There was a purpose in coming here – to be cleansed by the clean water of the temple – not simply to sightsee or hike.

Views over Kyoto.

Women in yukata walking to the shrine.

The shrine was built into a cleft, densely wooded.

The red bibs appear again.

The pure water streams.

In line to drink from the spring.

Peering through momiji leaves to the stream.

Tree propped over the pond.

ようこそ清水寺; welcome to Kiyomizudera.

I left the shrine and walked down the road of shops, pausing to admire the fans.

A group of high school girls posed in their yukata, or summer kimono.

Whatever it is, I don’t know if it’s tasty with a name like that.

Water dripped onto this umbrella to demonstrate how waterproof it was.

Bubble tea!


Afternoon snack: green tea dango with azuki bean paste and taro (?) powder.

Reminded me of New Meixican kachina dolls.

Small glass deocrations.

I somehow doubt you’re a Native American, sir.


Onsen advertisement.

かえるのうたが, ka e ru no u ta ga, that song we memorized in Suzuki violin classes at Waldorf!

Beautiful vegetables.


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