Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera Temple was founded in 778. Its history dates back over 1200 years. As a holy place where the deity Kannon’s great compassion prevails, the temple has long been open to citizens of all classes. History books and literature describe how large numbers of people have enjoyed visiting Kiyomizu-dera Temple throughout its history.
Among the grounds, which spread over 130,000 square meters along the mid-slope of Mt. Otowa in the eastern part of Kyoto, stand thirty Buddhist buildings, including the national treasure Main Hall and many other important cultural properties. Since its foundation, most of the buildings have been destroyed by fire over ten times. Thanks to the assistance of the temple’s faithful, they were rebuilt time and time again. Most of the present buildings were reconstructed in 1633. In 1944, Kiyomizu-dera Temple was registered on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List as one of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto.
Kodai-ji Temple is located north east of Yasaka Hokanji Temple at the foot of Higashiyama Ryozen Mountains in Kyoto. It is officially called Kodaiji-jushozenji Temple. The temple was established in 1606 by Kita-no-Mandokoro (1548-1624) in memory of her late husband Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). Kita-no-Mandokoro was also known as Nene. She later became a priestess and assumed the name of Kodaiin Kogetsuni. In July 1624, Sanko Osho from Kenninji Temple was welcomed as the principal monk and the temple was then named Kodai-ji. Tokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) (the first Tokugawa shogun) financed the construction of the temple, resulting in its magnificent appearance.
Currently Kaisando (Founder's Hall), Otama-ya (Sanctuary), Kasatei (Teahouse), Shiguretei (Teahouse), Omotetmon (Gate to Sanctuary) and Kangetsudai (Moon Viewing Pavilion) are designated as important cultural properties of Japan. Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Kita-no-Mandokoro are enshrined in "Otama-ya" and their graves lie under the state of Kita-no-Mandokoro. Shumidan (dais for a Buddhist image) and Zushi (small shrine) are decorated with splendid makie (Japanese lacquer with gilded patterns) which is known as "Kodai-ji Makie", typical of the Momoyama period. (late 16th century) The pond garden around Kaisando is said to have been designed by the great garden designer, Kobori Enshu.
Yasaka-jinja (jinja means shrine) respects Susanoo-no-mikoto, Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, and Yahashira-no-mikogami.
Susanoo-no-mikoto is a great god in Japanese mythology, known for his defeat of Yamata-no-orochi (a large serpent with eight heads: a symbol of many disasters), redemption of Kushiinadahime-no-mikoto, and produced the ground great-discernment on the earth.
According to the legend of the shrine, its history may go back as far as 150 years before the Heian era, AC656 (the second year of the reign of Emperor Seimei). Along with the development of the capital, adoration to the shrine spread widely all over Japan. Today, approximately 3,000 satellite shrines exist in various parts of Japan.
The name of the shrine was changed to Yasaka-jinja when shrines and Buddhist temples were separated at the time of the Meiji Restoration. The shrine was originally called the "Gion-sha" or "Kansin-in" for a long time.
Hokan-ji Temple is known colloquially as Yasaka-no-to (Yasaka Pagoda). It is a 46-meter tall pagoda with graceful, sloping roofs on each tier, which lies in the middle of an old Kyoto neighborhood, between Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka-jinja Shrine. It is one of the unexpected treasures that reward the person on a casual stroll through the Higashiyama District. Visitors are allowed inside to marvel at the tower's architecture, statues and fading paintings. Originally built by the Imperial Prince Shotoku in 589, the pagoda is said to have been inspired by a dream.