cherry blossoms and temples...by night

Higashiyama-ku Travel Blog

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entering Kiyomizu-dera

We took a cab up to Kiyomizu-dera temple and joined hundreds of others viewing the temple and cherry blossoms that were lit up. This temple is not usually open late, so this was a special treat. After a few cherry blossom photos, we found ourselves in a line to enter one of the buildings. It was 100 Yen and I figured it was just to see a Buddha statue inside, so what the heck? We got in line, paid, took off our shoes, and descended some steps into darkness.

At the bottom, we turned a corner and were in pitch black-ness. Cool. As we wondered what was going on, Linda told us she saw a note that said we were entering the womb of Buddha’s mother and that if we make a sincere wish it will come true. So we shuffled along the smooth paving stones in the dark, bumping into each other and the walls.

detail of gate
I followed a railing and suddenly it stopped. Oh, it turned a corner. As I turned the corner, I ran into the people in front of me and my group ran into me from behind. We all quietly laughed and wondered aloud what was going and what we were doing down here. We zigzagged a couple of times and came out into a little room with a large, smooth stone. I realized that I forgot to make my wish, so I quickly wished for something, rubbed the stone and climbed the stairs. What a strange and very cool experience. I think that was best 100 Yen I’ve spent. Definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip.

After that strange experience, we wandered the rest of the grounds. We walked over the famous balcony, The 13 m high veranda of wooden timbers was constructed with no nails.

temple and laser beam
During the Edo Period, it was believed that if you survived a jump from the balcony, your wish would come true. 85.4% of those jumpers survived the plunge – it is now prohibited to jump from the balcony. We continued on the path along the hillside that went downhill to the Otowa waterfall. Each of the three streams is supposed to bring you one of health, wisdom or longevity if you drink from them. However, you are only supposed to drink from 2 of the 3, less you seem greedy and invite misfortune upon yourself.

We figured we would stop at one of the restaurants along the way home, but everything was closed and it was only 9 pm. We were hungry, since we skipped dinner for this temple. We caught a cab home and then saw a Lawsons convenience store while stopped at a red light. We explained to the cab driver as best we could, that two of us would jump out here, but take the other two back to the hotel. Linda and I went to Lawsons to pick up some dinner. We got some Ramen noodle dishes, sandwich materials, and rolls for breakfast. Luckily we had a hot water maker in the hotel room. We cooked up our noodles and ate a late dinner at 10 pm, before collapsing in bed. Luckily jet lag didn’t seem to be a problem for any of us.

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entering Kiyomizu-dera
entering Kiyomizu-dera
detail of gate
detail of gate
temple and laser beam
temple and laser beam
leaving the womb of Buddhas mother
leaving the womb of Buddha's mother
Dave and Linda by cherry blossoms …
Dave and Linda by cherry blossoms…
me by cherry blossoms - at night
me by cherry blossoms - at night
trees lit up across valley
trees lit up across valley
the stage at Kiyomizu-dera
the stage at Kiyomizu-dera
white lit trees
white lit trees
3 waterfalls
3 waterfalls
reflection of lit up trees
reflection of lit up trees
temple, cherry blossoms and laser
temple, cherry blossoms and laser
cool flashing safety vest
cool flashing safety vest
Higashiyama-ku
photo by: alyssa_ob