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Kiyomizudera Temple: Japan’s pure water

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Magical Water Destinations
Magical Water Destinations is a blog by Smart Water Magazine dedicated to discovering all the most wonderful water destinations around the world. If you love water, whether it be salty or freshwater, then this is your blog.
  • Kiyomizudera Temple: Japan’s pure water

Otowasan Kiyomizudera is located in Kyoto, Japan, and is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.

Kiyomizu-dera, which in Japanese means “pure water temple” was built in the year 778 in the hills to the east of Tokyo, at the same place were the Otowa waterfall is found. The building juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city.

However, even though it was founded in the early Heian period, the current buildings are not the original ones, because the temple burned down several times through history.

Water is paramount in the temple: in several halls and buildings part of it, water is a symbol of purity and prosperity.

That is the case of the water-soaked Kannon or “Nurete Kannon”, a small statue of the Buddhist goddess (Kannon) on a water-filled basin. A ritual where sacred water from the basin is poured over the figure purifies the heart, body and soul.

However, one of the main attractions of the Kiyomizu-dera is the Otowa waterfall.

The temple is named after this waterfall, with three water jets that are traditionally believed to have therapeutic properties.

Visitors can drink from any of those three water streams the waterfall is divided into, to seek health, a long life, or success in love or business, although drinking from the three of them is frowned upon as a sign of greed.

Who knows, maybe visiting the Kiyomizu-dera Temple we will absorb some of its healing energy.

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