Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto (must see)

Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in Kyoto associated with the Hosso sect of Buddhism. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

The original temple was built in 778 by the Buddhist monk Enchin in honor of the Bodhisattva of mercy and compassion, Kannon Bosatsu. The present building, commissioned by the shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, dates back to 1633. Kiyomizu-dera means “Temple of the Pure Water” and gets its name from the location near the Otowa Waterfall. Today, many parts of the temple have been renovated.

The Kiyomizu-dera Temple is unique because it is constructed without using a single nail. The street leading to the temple is flanked by shops selling handicrafts and sweets. The gates have statues of Deva Kings and Korean Dogs that are believed to protect the temple from damage. The main hall features the design typical of the Haien era. The outer sanctuary is decorated with paintings donated by local tradesmen, and the inner sanctuary carries gold leaf images carved on lacquer. Also, within the complex there is a shrine dedicated to the Shinto deity of love. The wooden terrace of the temple offers spectacular views across Kyoto.

Why You Should Visit:
Multiple Shinto-style temples and buildings are well kept and positioned up a hill giving access to the great surrounding scenery.
Despite a large number of visitors, the site is spacious enough to accommodate the volume.
Lots of walking to do, but the uphill road, leading towards it, is lively and packed with interesting souvenir shops.

Tip:
Some shops let you try the foods/delicacies they sell, which is always helpful, given a wide array of products to choose from.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 6am-6pm (until 6:30pm on weekends/holidays from mid-April through July and every day in August & September).
Special illumination hours are held in spring for cherry blossoms, summer for the high tourist amount, and autumn for fall foliage. The illumination hours end at 9pm.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Kyoto. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple on Map

Sight Name: Kiyomizu-dera Temple
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan (See walking tours in Kyoto)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

Kyoto Shopping and Food Tour

The cultural capital of Japan, Kyoto is just as famous as a shopper’s paradise and is, without saying, the best place in the country to buy traditional and modern Japanese goods. Souvenirs, food, bargains and various “one-of-a-kind items” are all up for grabs here. If you would like to walk around Kyoto on your own two feet and enjoy shopping and authentic Japanese cooking, follow this...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Gion District Walking Tour

Gion District Walking Tour

Famed for being one of the most mesmerizing parts of Kyoto, Gion is the area long associated with traditional Japanese entertainment, stunning temples, geisha and local eateries ideal to while away a day in the ancient capital of Japan. The district forms part of the Higashiyama (“Eastern Mountain”) neighborhood lying north and south of Shijo Street, stretching from Yasaka Shrine in the east...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

Imperial Kyoto Walking Tour

The former capital of Japan, Kyoto is the city of tradition, history and culture. Attesting to this is the central part of the city, replete with historic attractions – centuries-old imperial palaces, castles and shrines that have seen a lot in the turbulent past of Kyoto. The explore the most prominent of them and to feel the breath of antiquity, follow this self-guided walk.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Higashiyama Walking Tour

Higashiyama Walking Tour

Kyoto is a city catering for tourists, especially the ones with love of history, religion and, of course, Japanese culture. Many of Kyoto's attractions are located in the eastern part of the city, which itself is split into wards. One of them is the Higashiyama Ward, home to several famous temples of Kyoto, including centuries-old Zen and Shinto sites such as lantern-lit Yasaka shrine and...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

Arashiyama and Bamboo Grove Walking Tour

The Arashiyama district is slightly out of way for tourists – but that just means one can enjoy it more comfortably. While arguably the most popular attraction here is the 'bamboo path' with its magnificent, towering bamboos, you should also enjoy other scenic attractions such as the Ōi River and Mount Arashi, or the Monkey Park, all within walking distance and selected/described in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Walk on Philosopher's Path

Walk on Philosopher's Path

Extending about 2 km along a canal carrying water from Lake Biwa to the foothills, the Philosopher's Path (so called because famed Japanese philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, used to walk it as a daily meditation before WWII) is perfect for a leisurely stroll with views that change through the seasons; cherries followed by new green leaves and, then again, the pastel hues of autumn.

It's...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.0 Km or 1.9 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


18 Japanese Products To Bring Home from Kyoto

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