Power spots are places thought to be flowing with mystical energy that are said to give energy to your body and spirit, and make your fortune turn for the better just by visiting them. The historical Kyoto has long been home to many such power spots - from potent sacred trees, up to miraculous waters. In this installment, we will introduce five of those power spots in Kyoto.
Kuramadera, a temple perched on a sacred mountain built during the Nara period (710 - 794), is one of the most famous power spots in Kyoto. Halfway up Mt. Kurama, you will see the main temple (building that houses the deity of the shrine) and the Reiho-den Hall (museum of the temple). You have to go through an approximately 1km winding hill from the temple gate to reach the main temple, so we recommend wearing comfortable shoes for walking. The main temple is dedicated to "Sonten," which is said to be three spirits combined into one that is "the cosmic energy that gives life and existence". They say that you will get the "energy of the universe" just by standing in the middle of the Rokubosei (hexagram) right in front of the main temple. Climb higher up the mountain path and you will get to the high temple called the Okunoin Maoden (inner shrine of the great king). This temple enshrines the Goho Maoson (the great king of the conquerors of evil and the spirit of the earth) that is rumored to be an alien that landed on earth from Venus some 6.5 million years ago. So if you are interested, go check it out!
Admission fee: 300 JPY
Admission fee to Reihoden Hall (Kuramayama's museum): 200 JPY
Yuki Shrine, famous for its Kurama Fire Festival that is one of the three biggest festivals of Kyoto, is the first shrine you will reach when you begin to climb the long mountain road to Kuramadera. This shrine was said to be built to enshrine the deities Onamuchi no Mikoto and Sukunahikona no Mikoto under the order of the Emperor in 940. The power spot in this shrine is the huge 800-year-old cedar tree that is found at the side of the stone steps right in the middle of the Worship Hall. It's called the "sacred cedar tree for Shinto prayer," and they say that your wishes will be granted if you offer a fervent prayer here. It's best if you see this shrine together with Kuramadera.
2. The sacred Shinto cedar tree at Yuki Shrine
Kiyomizudera is a famous sightseeing spot that was built in 798. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and as a result this temple is visited by a lot of tourists every day. The view from the national treasure Kiyomizu no Butai (the platform jutting out over the mountain) is truly a sight to behold! Although it may get crowded often, it is still definitely worth seeing.
However, the power spot that you should visit is the pure water from the Otawa-no-Taki. It's a waterfall for which the temple is named ("Kiyomizu" means "pure water"), and it has also been called "Ogonosui" (holy water) and "Enmeisui" (miraculous water for longevity) for more than 1,000 years. Water from the fall flows into three separate streams, and they apparently give different benefits when you drink from them. When viewed from inside the falls, the streams from the left are water for success at school, water for a fortunate love life, and water for longevity. Drinking all types of water will make the water lose its potency, so you have to seriously think about which water to drink before coming. When drinking, make sure to drink the water drawn by the dipper in a single gulp. It seems that the benefits are reduced when the water is drunk in several sips. Now, the water there may be delicious, but please refrain from putting it in a plastic bottle and taking it home with you.
Entrance fees: adult - 400 JPY, high school students - 400 JPY, elementary school students and younger children - 200 JPY
3. Otowa-no-Taki at Kiyomizudera
Seimei Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Abe no Seimei, who worked as an onmyoji during the Heian period (794 - 1185). An onmyouji was a government official that treated diseases as well as telling fortunes, astronomy, and astrometry based on onmyodo, yin and yang. This shrine was built in 1007 under the order of the Emperor to honor his achievements. Called a power spot, it is also known as shrine for keeping out of harm's way and warding off evil. Inside the shrine, look for the Seimei-no-i (Abe no Seimei's well) and Yakuyokemomo (a peach that wards off evil). Seimei-no-i is a well that was created by the faith of Seimei, and it is visited by a lot of people from faraway places who are hoping to be cured of their diseases. You can drink the water from the well. There are even rumors that your fortunes will improve just by setting Seimei-no-i as the wallpaper of your cell phone. Further, the peach is known as a fruit that wards off evil in China and in the way of yin and yang since ancient times. Touching the Yakuyokemomo will help you expel evil spirits, so try it!
4. The Yakuyokemomo and Seimei-no-i at Seimei Shrine
Daikoku-san Enmei-in Kongoji is a temple that houses the Shomen Kongo (blue-faced guardian deity), the principal object of worship of the powerful Hata clan of this region during the Asuka Period (592 - 710). This temple is also called Yasaka Koshindo. The Shomen Kongo is said to answer prayers for curing diseases, warding off evil, achieving academic excellence and having a thriving business. Enter the temple grounds and you will see colorful balls of cloth all over. These are what we call "kukurizaru." The kukurizaru is an item modeled after a monkey that warns about acting based on desires and is said to control people's desires. They say that if you write your wish in the kukurizaru (500 JPY each) and then offer it to the temple, it will be granted. So, how about making a wish here?
5. The kukurizaru at Yasaka Koshindo
Don't you feel like turning your luck for the better at these power spots while sightseeing in Kyoto? Go, use this article for reference and visit these places.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.