Great Sunset from Kiyomizu-dera

Ancient Buddhist Practice at the Sai-mon West Gate

By Tomoko Kamishima   Dec 30, 2013 - 1 min read

One of the great sunsets in Kyoto can be seen from the Sai-mon West Gate of Kiyomizu-dera Temple. When I was there on a day late in December the sun was going down slowly, and the gate and famous three-story pagoda next to it were glowing a soft orange hue.

Overlooking this city of Kyoto which is laid out in a basin and surrounded by mountains, Sai-mon Gate used to be a sacred spot for a special Buddhist practice, wherein priests would watch the sun go down, embedding the perfect fiery round image (a symbol of a perfect life) in their minds. Although this gate was built in 1631, a gate has existed here since the late 12th Century.

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Tomoko Kamishima

Tomoko Kamishima @Tomoko Kamishima

Japan is a small island nation, but we have a huge number of surprising things to discover here. Many of these delights can be found when you step off the main street onto small side paths. I really enjoy studying about and researching various aspects of traditional Japanese culture, and then sharing this information with visitors to Japan. I hope you will enjoy it, too! ARTICLE INDEX & PHOTOS:  An index of most of my Japan Travel articles can be found at the entry page of my blog, and my photos are shown here.  日本はとても小さな国ですが、大通りから一本小道に入ればたくさんの発見があります。日本人が積み重ねてきた歴史を学びながら、古い建物や庭を訪ね、物語の舞台となった景色を眺めて、皆様といっしょに日本文化の奥深さを探求していきたいと思います。