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Kiyomizu Temple

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nestled in the Otowa Mountain, to the east of central Kyōto, the Buddhist temple of Kiyomizu is one of the city’s most popular attractions, attracting millions of visitors each year. The current temple buildings date from the 15th to 17th centuries, but there has been a temple here since 778.

Enter through the red and gold Deva gate, and head up a steep incline to the temple. There are two approaches you can take, each lined with stalls selling snacks, local pottery work, incense and souvenirs. The Main Hall is the prominent feature of the temple, and houses an image of the goddess of mercy, Kannon Bodhisattva.

Pilgrims have visited the temple for hundreds of years. To accommodate the pilgrims, a veranda was built on the Main Hall during the Edo period (1603-1868). Huge poles support the cedar slabs that make up the veranda. From here you have a view out to the city and over the hundreds of cherry trees planted in the temple gardens.

You can also visit Otowa-no-taki waterfall and sip the water, which is said to have special properties, giving the drinker longevity, wisdom and good health. The romantic minded can venture to the Jishu shrine, where it is said that if you walk from one rock with your eyes closed and find your way to the second, you’ll find true love. The temple grounds also feature a three-tiered pagoda and 1,000 stone Buddha statues. In the fall the gardens are lit up so that you can enjoy the fiery colors of the maples in the garden.

The temple is open daily and there is a fee to enter the complex. Take public transportation or a cab as there is no car parking on site. Buses depart from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub. It’s best to arrive early if you want to beat the crowds.

It's not hard to spend a whole morning or afternoon at Kiyomizu Temple. Here are a nice selection of the activities you can enjoy here:

For even more activities, peruse our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Kiyomizu Temple


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Kiyomizu Temple

See all 2,742 Properties near Kiyomizu Temple
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto NT$2,117
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Toji Temple and Shijo Omiya are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA  NT$2,825
    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    44-1, Kamitonodacho, Higashikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Minami, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Kyoto Aquarium and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Jujo Station is 15 minutes.

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto NT$2,743
      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Higashi Honganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kujo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Station is 5 minutes.

        Park Hyatt Kyoto NT$19,629
        Park Hyatt Kyoto

        Park Hyatt Kyoto

        360 Kodaiji Masuyacho, Higashiyama, Kyoto
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hokanji Temple and Kodaiji Temple. Kiyomizu Temple and Gion Corner are also within 15 minutes. Higashiyama Station is 19 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 16 minutes.

          Hyatt Regency Kyoto NT$6,609
          Hyatt Regency Kyoto

          Hyatt Regency Kyoto

          644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is steps from Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Tower and Kiyomizu Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Shichijo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 14 minutes.

            Hotel Granvia Kyoto NT$3,092
            Hotel Granvia Kyoto

            Hotel Granvia Kyoto

            JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Higashi Honganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Aquarium and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is only a 5-minute walk and Gojo Station is 13 minutes.

              Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery NT$3,805
              Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

              Kyoto Yura Hotel - MGallery

              84 OHASHICHO, Kyoto
                 
                4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market and Chion-in Temple. Heian Shrine and Kyoto Imperial Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km). Sanjo Keihan Station and Kyoto Sanjo Station are within a 2-minute walk.

                HOTEL THE CELESTINE KYOTO GION NT$4,356
                HOTEL THE CELESTINE KYOTO GION

                HOTEL THE CELESTINE KYOTO GION

                572 Komatsucho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Gion, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kenninji Temple and Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre. Kawaramachi and Kiyomizu Temple are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 10 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 10 minutes.