A grand viewing deck to commune with nature.
That is the principal attraction of Kiyomizu-dera (Clear Water Temple), a Buddhist shrine near Kyoto, founded in 798 AD, whose main hall is dedicated to the eleven headed, thousand armed Bodhisattva. Highly venerated for its wish granting abilities, and brought out for public viewing only a few times a year.
The wooden deck – a stage almost – extending from the main hall, juts out over a sheer precipice and is supported by one hundred and thirty nine columns. Each over fifteen meters high. Both the hall and the deck were rebuilt in 1638 following traditional methods of construction without the use of a single nail.
A tradition, now banned, held that a person who survived a jump from the stage unscathed, would have his wish granted! And that is how, we were told, “Jumping off the Dera” became the Japanese colloquial term for…
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