- 2What is Heisei no Daikaisyu? 平成の大改修
- 3The roof of the main hall
- 3.1Hiwadabuki roof
- 3.2How to make Hiwadabuki roof?
- 3.3Why Hinoki cypress?
- 3.4Strip the bark of Hinoki cypress
- 3.5Make the bark roof
- 4Can we be on the famous stage?
- 5Other renovations
- 5.1Gokusaishiki colors
- 6Overview on Kiyomizu-dera temple
- 7About Kiyomizudera temple
- 8Access to Kiyomizudera temple
- 8.1From Gojozaka bus stop
- 8.2From Shijo kawaramachi bus stop
- 8.3On bicycle
As you know, Kiyomizudera temple is one of the most popular destination for tourists in Kyoto. It consists of about 15 buildings and some of them were renovated/reconstructed in the name of “Heisei no Daikaksyu (Reconstruction in Heisei period). “In 2019, the main hall is covered with a huge cage to fix the roof. Now we cannot see the iconic Kiyomizu-stage belongs to the main hall.
What is Heisei no Daikaisyu? 平成の大改修
Since its foundation in the 8th century, Kiyomizudera was reconstructed in nearly every five decades: Wooden buildings were damaged by whether and the vivid colors of pillars affected by sunlight. Japanese temples are to be renovated regularly.
Heisei no Daikaisyu began in 2017. It has been five decades since the last renovation. Famous buildings like Shakado (the place enshrines Buddha), Amidado (the place enshrines Amitabha), and the west gate are repainted in Gokusaishiki, the Japanese vivid colors. Most of all the buildings are renovated in the Daikaisyu but the most stunning incident is the change of the roof of the main hall. It is the last part of the Daikaksyu and will be finished in the next March, i.e., we can admire Kiyomizudera in the cage only in the following twelve months. This may be the last time to see Kiyomizudera in that way in our life.
The roof of the main hall
Today, the main hall is a scaffold named Suyane for the purpose of restoring of the roof. The roof of the main hall is built in a technique called Hiwadabuki. It is a popular art of roofing and we can see it in many Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples. These roofs are made of Hinoki (cypress) bark. Thin barks are put together and make thick roof.
How to make Hiwadabuki roof?
Now let us make a small inspection of the roof. Kiyomizudera is located at the top of a hill. When climb up the hill, we’ll find a building named “Umatodome.” It is a building worked as a stable for visitors. We can find a model of the roof there.
Why Hinoki cypress?
Hinoki is a popular wood for house building. It contains oil and can make roof water and worm proof. In addtion to it, the roof of Hiwadabuki is lighter than that of other materials. For example, about 1 sq yard of Hieadabuki roof is about 110 lbs and a roof of cray tile roof is heavier than 5 times. It is so sturdy wood that even Japanese mythology prefers it. Horyuji temple in Nara is the oldest wooden building on the earth and was built in the 7th century with Hinoki.
Strip the bark of Hinoki cypress
Craftspersons named “Motokawashi” strip the bark of Hinoki. They choose at least over 70 years old Hinoki tree. Near the root of a tree, they put a tool look like spatula between bark and trunk and peel off the bark. They take off only the surface of the bark to avoid devastate the life of the tree. The tree gains bark again and they can have bark about a decade later.
Make the bark roof
Attention: The photos in this chapter are not of Kiyomizudera temple.
Hieadabuki roof without bark looks like this.
Barks are slivered in long trapezoid shape. They are called “Hiwada.” Craftsperson called “Hiwadabukishi” have them moisten and put together to make a sheet of barks.
They put the sheet on the frame of the roof and nail them to it with bamboo nails hidden in their mouth. When Hiawdabukishi nail a sheet to the roof, they shift it a little to build thick and large roof.
The layers of the sheet of Hiwada make strong roof.
This is the main hall of Kiyomizudera temple before the Daikaisyu started. Take a look at something green on the roof: Mosses. Hiwadabuki roof usually has mosses or plants (actually some have flowers!) on it. They bond sheets of Hieada strong and make them tough.
Can we be on the famous stage?
Now the main hall looks like this, and you may be not sure whether you can enter the main hall or be on the stage. Don’t worry, we make them.
Inside of the main hall. There are white boards for construction but it looks the same before the renovation started.
On the other hand, there are scaffolds are on the stage and the roof for us is nearly 20 percent of it.
To our relief, we can enjoy the same view as before.
Buddhist temple is painted in this vivid color. Usually we can see them in this color because sunlight mades them fade away or soot of candle hides them. It is expensive to re-paint them that not the all temples afford that. In Kiyomizudera, Shakado, Amidado, the west gate, and other buildings were re-painted in this way.
Overview on Kiyomizu-dera temple
Kiyomizu-dera temple is one of the most famous landmarks in Kyoto and lures many tourists.
Its history dates back to the 778 A. D. The monk called Enchin had an oracle while he was asleep; Go to the Mt. Otowa. He found a golden stream and met Senju Kannnon, the Kannnon (Guanyin) who saves people with her 1,000 hands.
This is the foundation of Kiyomizu-dera temple.
In early days, Kiyomizu-dera temple belonged to Kofukuji temple and Hosso-syu school. And In 1965, it established Kita-Hosso-syu and was separeted of Hosso-syu.
In 1994, it was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Though its long history, the building of Kiyomizu-dera temple we see today was constructed in the 17th century as a dedication of Tokugawa Iyemitsu, the 3rd Shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate because the former building was burnt out by the fire.
About Kiyomizudera temple
- Official name: Otowazan Kiyomizu-dera 音羽山清水寺
- Address: Kiyomizu cho 1-294, Higashiyama ward, Kyoto city, Kyoto pref.
- Phone no. 075-551-1234
- FAX no. 075-551-1287
- Website; Kiyomizu-dera official HP
- Open hours: Depends on seasons. See Official website.
- Entrance fee: Adult 400 yen Under 16 years old 200 yen
- Time required: 1 hour~
Access to Kiyomizudera temple
From Gojozaka bus stop
The nearest bus stop is Gojozaka bus stop. It takes 10 minuites to get to Kiyomizu-dera.
From Shijo kawaramachi bus stop
The buses that stop at Gojozaka bus stop is crowded. This route is recommended.
For precise information, see the link below.