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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.


Guide to Exploring around Kiyomizu Temple


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RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto NT$3,116
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 Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Nishiki Market are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    Park Hyatt Kyoto NT$29,527
    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 Gion-shijo Station is 16 minutes.

      Ace Hotel Kyoto NT$9,268
      Ace Hotel Kyoto

      Ace Hotel Kyoto

      245-2 Aneyakojidori, Higashinotoin-nishiiru Kurumayacho, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto International Manga Museum and Nishiki Market. Kawaramachi and Nijō Castle are also within 15 minutes. Karasuma Oike Station is only a 2-minute walk and Karasuma Station is 10 minutes.

        Hyatt Regency Kyoto NT$7,424
        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). Shichijo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 14 minutes.

          Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto NT$2,978
          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 Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower, and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Tofukuji Station is 13 minutes.

            Hotel Monterey Kyoto NT$2,485
            Hotel Monterey Kyoto

            Hotel Monterey Kyoto

            604 Manjuya-cho, Sanjo-sagaru, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Rokakkudo Temple and Nishiki Market. Kyoto International Manga Museum and Shijo Omiya are also within 10 minutes. Karasuma Oike Station is only a 4-minute walk and Karasuma Station is 6 minutes.

              The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu NT$20,864
              The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

              The Hotel Seiryu Kyoto Kiyomizu

              2-204-2 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Higashiyama, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kiyomizu Temple, Yasaka Shrine, and Gion Corner. Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 16 minutes by foot and Gion-shijo Station is 17 minutes.

                APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT NT$1,243
                APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

                APA Hotel Kyoto Gion EXCELLENT

                555, Minamigawa, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Gion, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gion Corner, Kiyomizu Temple, and Heian Shrine. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Tower are also within 3 mi (5 km). Gion-shijo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Kawaramachi Station is 8 minutes.