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)
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