Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

Apr 1, 2019

Type: Temple
Address: 294 Kiyomizu 1-chome, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu
Business Hours: 06:00 - 17:30 (18:00 or 18:30 depending on seasons). Also open in the evening (- 21:00) during special events.
Closed on: Open Daily
Disable Friendly: No
Parking: City-run parking lot is available and other privately operated parking lots are around, but limited availabilities during busy seasons. Also, more expensive nearer the temple.

Google Map

sOne of the Top 5 Sightseeing Spots in Kyoto

Nio-Mon Tower Gate

Nio-Mon Tower Gate (Main Gate to the Temples)

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the major sightseeing spots in Kyoto. Ground of the temple is huge (32 acres) and there are lots of sub-temples and cultural properties therein. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is in the foot of Otowa Mountain which rises in between Kyoto and Shiga prefectures, and the view from the stage extended from the main temple (= known as "Kiyomizu-no-Butai") is gorgeous, overlooking city of Kyoto. Also, the uphill streets approaching to the temple are very pretty and along the streets there are a number of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes.

11-faced Kannon Bodhisattva

Kiyomizu-dera Temple was originally founded in 778 (late Nara Period) as a temple granting wishes for good health, successful career, wealth, etc. In the main temple, enshrined is the statue of eleven-faced Kannon Bodhisattva with thousand arms as the main figure of worship of the temple. It is not exposed to the public except for a short period of time once every 33 years based upon a legend that Kannon Bodhisattva transfigures itself 33 times to save people from all the sufferings. Next exposure to the public will be most likely 2033. So for now, just stand in front of the main temple and pray for something in mind.

"Otowa-no-Taki" Waterfall

”Kiyomizu” means "Sacred Water", and the water falling from "Otowa-no-Taki Waterfall" in the temple is in fact considered a sacred mineral water purified through the rocks of Otowa Mountain. People stop at Otowa-no-Taki Waterfall to drink the sacred water for miraculous efficacy such as longevity and healthier life.

Powerful Match-Maker

Of the things of interest in the temple, there are a couple of spots you might want to stop at. One of them is "Jishu-Jinja" Shrine, which used to be a part of Kiyomizu-dera Temple but in 1868 it was separated as an independent shrine following the ordinance to distinguish Shinto and Buddhism. It is said to have a strong match-making power, so there are lots of singles visiting the shrine to wish for happy encounters. Also, Kiyomizu-dera Temple has another match-maker which is "Zuigudo" Hall, one of the subordinate temples. Visiting these two spots would twice the chance, maybe...

Walking up to the Temple and back from there

Route Map to Kiyomizu Temple

Routes to Kiyomizu Temple

One of the two main streets taking visitors to the temple is Gojo Zaka St. which begins from the crossing of Gojo St. and Higashioji St. The other one is Matsubara St. which crosses Higashioji St. up in the north. Both streets join together near Sannen Zaka Path and the joined street name is Kiyomizu Zaka St. In addition, there is a fork in Gojo Zaka St. and the branched street on the right is called Chawan Zaka St. which also takes us to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. I love this Chawan Zaka St. which introduces history of Kiyomizu Ware (ceramics and potteries). It has more than 400 years of history and there used to be a number of kilns in the area where Chawan Zaka St. currently runs. "Chawan" means "Ceramic Rice Bowl", one of the typical Kiyomizu Ware products. The street was named after it.

Chawan Zaka St.

Chawan Zaka St. - 7:30am. Very quiet.

On the way back from Kiyomizu-dera Temple, I suggest that you take Sannen Zaka Path and walk to the north. You will then reach Ninen Zaka Path which takes you all the way to Kodai-ji Temple and Yasaka Jinja Shrine area where there are lots of places to see such as Ishibei Koji Lane (stone moated old town), Nene-no-Michi Road, etc.

Go there Early in the Morning

Since Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a super popular place to visit, there are always huge number of tourists in the temple and in the streets nearby. You do not want to go there late in the morning and early in the afternoon - it is PACKED with tourists and you cannot even walk in the crowds. I often see a huge line of people waiting for their turns to pray at the main temple and also for a sip of sacred water at Otowa-no-Taki Waterfall. I would strongly suggest that you go there very early in the morning (the temple is open at 6:00am) when most of the people are still in bed or eating breakfast.