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Temple 35, Kiyotaki-ji

The Temple of the Clear Waterfall

Temple 35, Kiyotaki-ji

Kiyotaki-ji is temple No. 35 on the Shikoku pilgrimage, or Henro. It stands high on a hillside of citrus groves at the end of a steep, narrow, and winding road with ditches on either side. Walking pilgrims must climb some long steps that pass through a main gate decorated with finely carved dragons. The temple guardians inside the gate have hollow eye sockets and their fingers are now just pegs, creating a rather creepy impression.

The first thing you see when you arrive at the temple is an imposing nine-metre statue of Yakushi Nyorai, Buddha of healing, built in 1933. In the plinth of the statue is a doorway. Enter it and head round to the left and it gets dark very quickly. There are eighty-eight steps that go up and down and round at a sharp angle, until you come to a mercifully illuminated altar where you can pray not to be such a coward in future.

Behind the statue are the main hall and the Daishido. The main hall is decorated with more of the dragons seen on the main gate. To the right of the main hall is a waterfall whose pure water was said to have been brought forth by Kukai to irrigate the valley below. The name of the temple “pure waterfall temple”, derives from this precious water source.

Further on to the right is a Shinto shrine and then the Nokyosho which stands next to a long temple building. In front of this is a flat lookout area with a magnificent view over Tosa city, with glimpses of the Pacific between the mountains. A bend in the Niyodo River is also visible.

Information

Name in Japanese: 清滝寺

Pronunciation: kiyotakiji

Address: 568-1 Tei, Takaokacho, Tosa, Kochi 781-1100

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