On the side of Mt. Otowa, with a view of the whole city of Kyoto, resides Kiyomizudera Temple. The temple was originality built in 780 C.E. by a distinguished priest Yenchin, but the current structure was rebuilt in 1633 C.E. Before making it to the main structure of the temple stand several structures ranging from the large gate of Deva Kings, to a three storied pagoda, and a bell tower. The main sanctuary of this temple is what makes Kiyomizudera iconic. The only Japanese architecture of its kind, the wooden structure of this building that overhangs the mountain is called "Kiyomizu no Butai". The worship hall is supported underneath by a complex weave of wooden beams. Dedicated to the Buddhist God of Mercy, Kannon this temple is quite an impressive temple.
Only a few of us on the trip made it to see Kiyomizudera, but it was well worth the trip. Beyond seeing the expansive view of Kyoto from the stage over hanging the side of the mountain, two of us got to partake in a ritual the temple is well-known for: called "Otowa no Taki". Down the mountain and below the temple exists a waterfall of purified water that has been flowing continuously for several thousand years. "Kiyomizu" actually means "pure water". The two of us got to drink from this waterfall and I personally brought back a bottle of purified water. Kiyomizudera Temple is a great place to visit for the sceneic views, but part of visiting temples and shrines is actually being active in what is going on around us. The one thing the pamphlet mentions about the temple that we did not get to see is that it is ranked first as the best place to see cherry blossoms in the spring and autumn leaves in the fall.