Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of Kyoto’s must-see attractions. It’s a bustling riot of commerce and schlock, but it’s a lot of fun, especially for the kids.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple © froderik
Presiding over the Southern Higashiyama Sightseeing district, with a brilliant view across the entire city, Kiyomizu-dera Temple is just about everything a temple shouldn’t be: it’s noisy, crowded, crassly commercial (in its sales of amulets and fortunes), and as gaudy as an attention-starved peacock, but it somehow manages to transcend all of this to become one of Kyoto’s most worthwhile temples to visit. Start by climbing Chawan-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi to get there and you’ll soon see the brightly painted entrance gate and pagoda. Before buying your ticket to enter the main compound, ask someone to point you in the direction of the “Tainai Meguri.”
We’re not going to say much about this place, other than it’s a pitch-black subterranean grotto which contains a stone that has the power to grant any wish. Continue from there into the main compound and visit Jishu-jinja, where you’ll see students trying to walk from one stone pillar to another with their eyes closed. Success at this is said to ensure a lucky love life. After this, make a thorough exploration of the various temples and subtemples scattered about. And whatever you do, don’t miss the nighttime lightups of the temple held during cherry blossom season – the effect is truly otherworldly.
Please note that the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera is presently being renovated. Construction is slated to finish in March 2020. During renovation, you can still visit the temple and even enter the main hall, but the exterior might be covered with scaffolding etc.
Walking Tour: Kiyomizu-dera Temple features in our Private Walking Tour of Southern Higashiyama
1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku
6am- around 6pm, the gate close time varies by season (5:30pm-6:30pm)
Junior and elementary school students: \200
Non-smoking area: Yes
10min walk from Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi Bus Stop, Kyoto City Bus 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station
Official Website (English)
Where Is This Place Located?See these places on our Kyoto Google map:
- Open the Kyoto map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Near To Here:
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is located in Kyoto’s Southern Higashiyama district. See our complete list of things to do in Southern Higashiyama, including places to eat, nightlife and places to stay.
Kyoto Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Kyoto guide
- Check Kyoto accommodation availability on Booking.com - usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too.
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Kyoto
- See my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Buy a data-only SIM card online for collection when you arrive at Kansai International Airport (for Osaka and Kyoto) or Tokyo's Narita Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router.
- Compare Japan flight prices and timings to find the best deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with a Japan Rail Pass - here's my explanation of why it's worth it
- Get travel insurance for Japan - we recommend World Nomads (and here's why)