Wednesday, March 04, 2009

11/8/08: Day 9 in Japan Part II - Kiyomizu-dera

Each time I am in Kyoto, I feel compelled to visit Kiyomizu Temple because of the magnificence of the temple itself and fun atmosphere surrounding the temple.

Kiyomizu Temple is established in 798 AD, and its current buildings were constructed in 1633. The construction process is reknowned for not using nails.

The main hall has a veranda at the height of 13 meters (40 feet), and there was a tradition during the Edo Era that one can have their wish come true by jumping from the stage and surviving. (My wish would be to survive the jump.)

My visit coincided with the rare opening of a hall that houses rare statues, but unfortunately, photography was prohibited. One of the areas we visited was situated underneath the temple, and it was the darkest room I have ever been. We were supposed to navigate our way through the winding corridors following the guardrail, but I kept bumping into a wall. At the end was a lighted golden statue that appeared like a hologram.

After visiting the temple, we made our rounds of the store down the hill and admired the beautiful buildings that feature lot of traditional elements. While there were many eateries, Kiyomizu area is famous for their pottery.

It has been my tradition to make my own Kiyomizu-yaki, and I've made a rice bowl and medium-sized plate during my prior visits. This time, I was looking to make a serving bowl.

The place to go is Kashogama.

It takes 15~20 minutes to shape your ware, and after that, you choose the color.

Once everything is set, it takes few weeks for the pottery to dry, colored, baked in the kiln, and shipped. (Shipping fee is flat rate of 1,000 yen which is roughly $9.70).

Here is my 2008 creation. The total cost was 4,000 yen, or $38.80.

Believe me, all my cooking seem to taste a lot better now! 

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