Kyomizu-Dera Temple, Kyoto

Overlooking the South Higashiyama district in the old Japanese capital of Kyoto, the impressive wood structure of Kyomizu-Dera Temple exudes of authenticity. Tucked into a lush of greenery and flowers, the surroundings are peaceful, though busy with tourists during the daytime. Its paved pedestrian path, leading to the terrace and main temple buildings, connect the ancient pilgrims to the modern passing by.

Panorama of Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the Evening, Kyoto, Japan
June 2015, panorama from 4 vertical images, additional exposures for highlights, focal length 33mm, aperture f/11, shutter speed 25 seconds, ISO 100, tripod, pano head.

Kyomizu-Dera Temple, mentioned in the “Tale of Genji” novel in the 12-th Century, also owns a legend now long forgotten. It comes back to the visitor’s mind while walking on the old wooden terrace: the one, who would jump from the temple’s veranda and survive the jump, could see one’s wish fulfilled.

Every visitor entering the temple aims at a drop of the cooling water source from which the temple takes its name (“clear water”). It is till running through the landmark temple nowadays.

On a hot sunny day, as I headed towards Kyomizu-Dera Temple, the sky was clean and cloudless for a humid June afternoon. Hoping that fewer tourists would be around that evening, I started exploring the temple grounds to decide on the perfect spot to capture the scene without too many distractions.

That same early evening, when I returned, I was surprised that the temple precincts had already closed at 6pm, so, instead of the particular spot I had chosen, I managed to find another spectacular composition of the temple and the surrounding hills, from behind the barriers. As the last Japanese tourists vanished quickly through the surrounding lanes, I could stand and focus solely on my shot.

The early sunset light highlighted with a soft touch all the details of the temple building, and I spent almost 2 hours to shot many frames to achieve my wish: convey in this panoramic composition the vastness of the scene and the stunning change of the evening light. The essence of the old Japanese capital, Kyoto with its serenity is reflecting in this vision.

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