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1-294 Kiyomizu Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan

Kiyomizu-dera Kyoto Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
566 reviews
Deservedly popular - and crowded Oct 11, 2013
This Buddhist temple is possibly the most visited in Kyoto – it is certainly up there in the top five. And it’s easy to see why it draws the crowds. It has a lovely hillside setting with views of the town and several other nearby pagodas and temples. It is near enough the centre of town and those other temples to be easily accessible. And it has a unique feature – a sort of platform or veranda that juts out on one side of the main hall, 13 metres above the hillside below. Both hall and stage, and indeed all the buildings here, were built without the use of nails, an amazing achievement. They date from 1633, though the temple was founded much earlier, in 778. Since that foundation, the temple had burned down many times, and thus most of the current buildings were rebuilt by the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu in the early Edo period. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

The temple opens at 6.00 am so if you want to avoid the crowds you could aim to get here early. We had arrived that morning on the train from Osaka so by the time we got here (about 11.00 am I reckon) it was packed, but the crowds, who were mostly Japanese tourists and worshippers, didn’t detract from our enjoyment at all. Indeed, I enjoyed watching the many girls who had dressed in kimono for the occasion, and it was interesting to observe the rituals of washing in the fountain and burning incense, the smell of which wafted on the air and lent atmosphere to the temple complex. Closing times vary, by the way, so check the website for details. Entry is a modest 300¥.

As well as the main hall and veranda, don’t miss the Tainai-meguri, in the Zuigu-do Hall to the left of the pagoda just beyond the main gate. A man was selling tickets here, or rather, exchanging them for a ‘suggested donation’ of 100¥, which we were happy to make though we had no idea what we were paying for at that point. We were asked to remove our shoes and given a plastic bag each in which to carry them as we entered the shrine. We were instructed to hold on to the rope handrail as we entered, and soon realised why. The path through the shrine is constructed in such a way that after a few steps you are plunged into total darkness, unable to see even an inch in front of you. The idea is that this represents the womb of a female bodhisattva, so you are returning to a pre-birth state. At the heart of the shrine a little light falls on a large stone, which you spin and make a wish before ascending through more darkness until you emerge, blinking, into the bright light of day.

No photos are allowed, or possible, inside the Zuigu-do Hall, but there are more than enough photo opps elsewhere, as you can see!
Nio-mon gate, Sai-mon gate and the…
Nio-mon gate
Tourist at Kiyomizu-dera
Tourist at Kiyomizu-dera
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bensonryan bensonry…
99 reviews
The reason to visit Kyoto Aug 16, 2012
Kiyomizu temple is a pinnacle landmark in Kyoto signifying the prestigious history and culture of Japan. It was founded in 778 by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro and the current structures Kiyomizu-dera were constructed in 1633 under the Tokugawa polity, completely nail free. As a temple, Kiyomizu-dera is used as a place of worship and prayer. For the visitor and sight-seer, it has some very scenic views of the city from its uphill viewpoint. Kiyomizu, meaning “clear water”, derives from the waterfall that lies within the complex. Locals often ceremoniously catch and drink the water, as it is believed to have wish-granting blessings.

Paper fortunes and talismans detail the temple where visitors can utilize their prayers. The temple is extremely popular during festivals where locals sell food, drink and souvenirs to the visitors. When I visited, I felt it represented what classical Japan had to offer. The structures are well preserved with the large verandas and main halls. The temple benefits from repeat visits during Kyoto’s four distinct seasons. Visiting during the summer time might be a challenge due to the absurdly humid inland climate peaks in triple degree weather. The climb for some might be a bit strenuous as the incline leading up to the attraction is steep. There are also many shops and restaurants in the street leading up to the temple too.

Attractions such as Kiyomizu Dera is the reason why any international traveler should visit Japan. This, and the majority of Kyoto, is where people can find themselves entrenched in Japanese history. It is worth the three hour bullet train ride westward of Yokohama. I would go again in the autumn and winter times once I have the opportunity.
5 / 5 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
pnda pnda
5 reviews
Georgous view atop Kyoto Mar 25, 2012
One of the most traveled to temples sitting atop Kyoto. Stunning views of the city with plenty of shops along the way with this historic monument a the top. A remarkable piece from the Edo area, this temple is still used today. As you climb the narrow street leading to the entrance to the temple, you can see kimono clad girls coming back down, as well as girls in kimonos at the temple. While I was there, there seemed to be construction going on. I was told it was a seismic retrofit to keep everyone safe.
andreakw andreakw
7 reviews
the blue water temple Jul 17, 2009
清水寺 Blue Water Temple

This is the hub of day trippers to Kyoto!

The streets up to the temple are very steep but there are lots of tea shops and traditional stores where you can pause to catch your breath.

The temple is a World Heritage Site - not one nail was used to build it. The views across Kyoto from here are unbeatable.

From Wikipedia: "Beneath the main hall [of the temple] is the Otowa waterfall, where three channels of water drop into a pond. Visitors to the temple collect the water, which is believed to have therapeutic properties, from the waterfall. It is said that drinking the water of the three streams confers wisdom, health, and longevity. However, some Japanese believe that you must choose only two — if you are greedy and drink from all three, you invite misfortune upon yourself."
ys484 ys484
178 reviews
One of the most famous temple in Kyoto Mar 18, 2008
I can say everyone in Japan knows Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. We usually go to this temple on a school excursion. So you can find a lot of students from other prefectures at this temple. The large veranda is jutted out over the hillside. The expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is the same meaning of "to take the plunge". The Chinese character of this year has been announced for 19 years at this temple on December 12. The Chinese character of 2013 was 輪 that means a wheel hoping to success of 2020 Summer Olympic in Tokyo.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
YantiSoeparno YantiSoe…
71 reviews
A Very Great Temple Jan 14, 2007
"Whoa....," was my first word when I saw the gate of Kiyomizu-dera and of course with an amazed expression on my face. The gate of the temple was bright under the afternoon sun. I was not satisfied to take only a few pictures but I had to catch my friends.

After passing the gate, we arrived at a huge balcony made of wood where we could see the view of Kyoto city. I could say that it was a quick visit so I couldn't say much here.

On the way to the exit, I found the wooden construction of the balcony made me "whoa...." again. It was delighting my sense of architecture and quenching my thirst eyes. [I don't care if there is no expression like this in English language ;-)] I salute the architect and all the construction workers of this temple. Unfortunately, since it was already dark, I couldn't take a decent picture of it :-(

On the way to the car park from the temple, you can find lots of souvenir shops along the street. Since it was my first day in Japan, I had to save my yen. So, I couldn't share much about the shops. As I know, they sell many kinds colorful and pretty souvenirs and traditional snacks and foods.
The balcony construction
The gate
The front building
The souvenir shop

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