Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site founded in 778. Kiyomizu means pure water and was given the name because of the Otowa Waterfall within the grounds.

It’s believed that drinking water from the waterfall has wish-granting powers.


Kiyomizu-dera Temple Main Hall

The current structure was built in 1633. Not a single nail was used in the construction. There are 168 pillars supporting the temple.

There is a large veranda, which was built to accommodate the large numbers of pilgrims who visited during the Edo Period. It was believed that if you jumped and survived the 43-foot jump, your wish would be granted. There have been 234 jumps with an 85% survival rate. Today, this practice is prohibited.


After going through the temple, there is a walking path through the garden. There are beautiful views of the city and it’s a great place to watch the sunset. In the spring and the fall, there are special evening illuminations.

Higashiyama District

The approach to the temple is a winding road lined with souvenir shops that have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries. The Higashiyama District between Kiyomizu-dera Temple and Yasaka Shrine is one of the best-preserved historic districts in Kyoto.

The Ninenzaka and Sannenzaka streets offer shops with traditional crafts, cafes and restaurants. Kiyomizu-yaki pottery is a local specialty.

This is a great place to dress in a kimono and learn the traditions of a Japanese tea ceremony. Plan to spend at least half a day or more exploring this area.


Kiyomizu is open every day from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm. During special times of year with illuminations, there is night viewing until 9:30 pm. Admission is 400 yen. Elementary and junior high school students are 200 yen. See the official website for details.

How to Get There

From Kyoto Station, take Bus 206 or Bus 100 to Gojozaka or Kiyomizu Michi bus stop. The bus ride takes about 15-20 minutes.

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