Kiyomizudera is one of Japan’s most famous attractions and for good reason, you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time while exploring the temple grounds. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kiyomizudera is one of the select few categorized as an Ancient Monument of Kyoto. When you consider the city boasts over 1,600 temples, the honour becomes even more impressive. Kiyomizudera was one of my favourite places in Kyoto and it is something you cannot afford to miss!
Having just explored Ginkakuji Temple (the Silver Pavilion), I decided it would be an awesome idea to walk 5km en route to Kiyomizudera. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone who has some time to spare. A good portion of your trek will be along the Philosopher’s Path and Higashiyama, two of Kyoto’s most famous areas! Not to mention, you’ll stumble across plenty of small temples that see little tourist traffic. I finally arrived at Kiyomizudera after a 1 ½ hour walk, it was an extremely rewarding detour and crossed a few things of my to do list.
Photographers will love their time spent exploring Kiyomizudera where there are find plenty of opportunities to get impressive shots. Upon entering the temple grounds I was greeted by vibrant vermillion structures, with the bright colours providing amazing contrast and composition. Continuing my journey, I ventured forth into Okunoin Hall, a large wooden stage built 13 meters above the hillside below. This platform offers the best views during cherry blossom season and the fall where trees turn impressive colours. On the opposite side of the complex is Koyasu Pagoda. Making the journey over to this area is said to bring an easy childbirth. Either way, it’s worth taking a walk over to this picturesque site.
In my opinion, the coolest thing about this temple is that buildings were constructed on the site of the Otowa Waterfall, giving Kiyomizudera a literal translation of “Pure Water Temple”. The water is divided into three streams, each of which is said to contain mystical properties. Longevity, success at school and a fortunate love live constitute the benefits gained from Otowa Waterfall, however, its is considered to be extremely greedy to drink from all three streams. I am somewhat confident that I took a drink of “success at school”.
Truly one of the can’t miss attractions of Kyoto, my journey to and time spent within Kiyomizudera felt like a dream. The photographic opportunities and the ability to drink from Otowa Waterfall was an awesome experience I’ll never forget. No trip to Kyoto is complete without visiting Kiyomizudera Temple.
Thank you for reading, be sure to check out my Kyoto City Guide and Japan Travel Guide.