Sunday, October 3, 2010



Kiyomizu means "pure, clear water" and refers to the founding legend of the temple and the water found here. There are a lot of Kiyomizuderas in Japan, the most famous being the one in Kyoto, but this one is one of the oldest if not the oldest temple with the name, being founded in 587.


Located in the hills near Yasugi, close to the border with Tottori, the temple disappeared and was refounded in the ninth century, though nothing here now dates from anywhere near that time as the temple and the whole mountain was reduced to ash during a war between the Amago and Mori Clans in the 16th Century.


There is the only 3-story pagoda in the San-in region, and unusually, it is open to the public for a small fee. If one can navigate the steep stairs inside one is rewarded with views across the surrounding countryside.


The temple belongs to the Tendai Sect, and is one of the temples on the Chugoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage as well as the Izumo 33 Kannon Pilgrimage.



  1. Beautiful - and whilst it may not see even a fraction of the visitors that the Kyoto one does, I'm sure that within it there's a much stronger core of pure belief than can be found in the more touristy Kyoto version.

    Having said that - if it's on those pilgrimages, then it most likely sees it's fair share of visitors anyhow.

    At 587 - that would make it very soon after the first "official" arrival of Buddhism in Japan. Amazing! To think that the religion took hold that fast - even beyond the capital.

  2. the official introduction was for the Yamato rulers in central japan. The Sanin coast and north kyushu had heavy interaction with the mainland outside of official channels.....

  3. It is impressive. Thank you for sharing the information and wonderful pictures.

  4. nice pics :)
    I have also photos from my Japan 2007, including Kiyomizudera