Last month we were delighted to hear that one of Kyoto’s most famous sight-seeing spots, Kiyomizudera, has an Instagram account. The thing about Kiyomizudera though, is that it’s not really just a tourist spot, it is a functioning temple serving hundreds of people every day and it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. The site’s grandeur expands past the temple itself, to the beautiful surrounding scenery and view of the Kyoto cityscape, which can be enjoyed from the temple’s location, perched atop Mt. Otowa. Even the everyday religious events around Kiyomizudera are worthy of appreciation.

With all of this in mind, the temple has come out with an official Tumblr website, which they hope will allow viewers to not only see the temple through pictures, but to really feel and embrace its atmosphere.


The blog, which is called “Feel Kiyomizudera,” consists of three sections: a photo archive listed under 観る (miru, see), a video section, 感じる (kanjiru, feel), and a “Words of Wisdom” section, 読む (yomu, read), which gives you three methods to experience the temple.


The photo archive houses the brilliant photos by photographer Kazuya Sudo. In an introduction, he explains that he wants the viewer to “feel the ‘now’ of Kiyomizudera.” He wants to tell the stories of the people who visit and of Mt. Otowa as a mountain, as well as a spiritual place. He aspires to record the “true everyday encounters and scenery,” so the future can also understand Kiyomizudera as it was in that instantSudo organizes the photos by month, so that viewers can find moments, occasions or seasons that move them so much, they will visit in-person to experience those moments for themselves.


Aside from the fact that the setting is beautiful, the photography itself is outstanding and really does allow viewers to look at the temple in a fresh and inspiring perspective. The photos make you want to get up and visit right away.


The “feel” section uses videos to bring more life and atmosphere into the experience, which you can’t quite get through still frames alone. The videos range from a lively dragon dance, to a prayer session, and even calming music matched with serene images to aid in meditation or relaxation.

▼ This video introduces the temple’s 28 attendant deities who serve Kannon, the god of mercy, who is honored at Kiyomizudera.

Finally, there is the “Words of Wisdom” section. Unlike the universal language of images, if you can’t read Japanese, unfortunately you won’t be able to appreciate this section. The blog posts cover a variety of Buddhist, cultural and historical topics, all relating back to Kiyomizudera. If you can read Japanese, enjoy!


If you’re in the mood for some relaxing spirituality, or just really like photography, definitely take a moment for the Kiyomizudera Tumblr page, you will not be disappointed. We sure weren’t!

Source: Tumblr (Feel Kiyomizudera) via Japaaan Magazine
Images: Tumblr (Feel Kiyomizudera –Kazuya Sudo)