The best panorama of Kyoto is available from Kiyomizu Dera, a complex of Buddhist temples in the eastern part of the city. From here you can see the entire Kyoto basin, and how this beautiful city is protected and encompassed by three mountain ranges.
The Kiyomizu temple itself is perched high on the steep side of a mountain in Eastern Kyoto. The entire structure is supported by a wondrously woven set of beams that all fit together without the use of even a single nail. Amazing!
The trouble with jumping off the stage at Kiyomizu is that you’re likely to miss the next feature of this interesting complex of temples, Jishu-ji, the temple of love and “good matches.” This temple has two stones in its courtyard. Called “love-stones”, it is said that if one can walk the 18m between the stones unaided, one’s wishes for a worthy spouse will come true. If you need assistance in completing the distance, the wish will come true – but you’ll need some help. Thus, depending on your point of view, this temple could be a shadchan’s dream - or nightmare.
Not being one to miss a dare – but also not being one to jump off a 13m high veranda – I stepped up to the falling water. Here I discovered metal cups with meter long handles with which I could scoop up and sip this blessed water. In order to keep everything hygienic (after all, this is Japan), the cups are stored inside an ultraviolet sterilizer. I took a sip from each of the three falls of water but I didn’t feel any different. One of my travelers suggested that now that I was promised longevity, maybe I should take the plunge anyway. “No way,” I replied.
See, I’m smarter already!