Mother Nature blesses a Buddhist statue with a full head of hair.

We’re always on the go here at SoraNews24, travelling around the country to bring you some of Japan’s unknown gems. Recently, we introduced you to a restaurant that serves meals by a locomotive traina castle that offers overnight stays, and a mysterious hot spring bath powered just like the onsen in the Studio Ghibli anime film Spirited Away.

Now, we’ve found another off-the-beaten path destination for you, and this one is located in Fukuoka, the capital city of Kyushu, at a temple called Kiyomizudera.

Kiyomizudera literally translates to “Pure Water Temple”, and that’s exactly what you’ll find here. In fact, there’s a blue sign by the road next to the temple that lets passersby know where they can find the pure, clean water that’s made this temple so famous.

Kiyomizudera’s water is so renowned it’s been named as one of Japan’s “Meisui Hyakusen”, or “100 Famous Waters“, selected by the Japanese government. Local residents fill up drinking vessels here in return for a 100 yen (US$0.93) donation.

Nestled in the idyllic countryside, Kiyomizudera has a tranquil atmosphere that lulls visitors into a relaxed, contemplative state that’s both healing and soothing. Covered in moss and steeped in history, a number of ancient statues stand quietly on the grounds. 

Like many temples, Kiyomizudera has a collection of small Jizo statues. Jizo are believed to be protectors of travellers and children, and are sometimes dressed up in red bibs and hats to help protect them from the cold.

One of the Jizo here has become the centre of attention recently, as it doesn’t need any head covering to keep it warm. Because this Jizo has a head of hair.

Mother Nature has blessed this Jizo with a mossy quiff, and its unusual appearance means it’s showered with attention…and coins from admiring visitors.

Many are calling it the “Pompadour Jizo“, due to the way the moss grows over its head like a pompadour. The style makes it look just like a ’50s rocker, similar to the rock ‘n roll enthusiasts that gather at Yoyogi Park in Tokyo on weekends.

We can’t help but wonder what it was about this particular Jizo that led it to grow a mane of moss on its head. Could it be that the spirit of an old rocker lives on inside this Jizo?

It’s a mysterious sight, especially given its sacred location within the temple grounds, and more and more people are now keen to visit in order to pay their respects to the rockstar Jizo.

Despite the Jizo’s rebellious appearance, though, it still lives on a sacred site, so visitors are asked to be quiet and respectful around the statue and refrain from touching it.

Whether you believe in rock ‘n roll spirits or simply want to try one of Japan’s 100 best waters, Kiyomizudera is definitely worth a visit. And if you’re in the area and looking for another mysterious site to stop at, there’s always the bacon vending machine housed in a laundromat. Because nothing gets you hungry for pork like a fresh change of clothes.

Temple information
Kiyomizudera / 清水寺
Address: Fukuoka-ken, Ukiha-shi, Ukihamachi, Yamakita 1941 

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