- Churches/Religious Sites Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Read about how we rank Things to Do.
Situated on Otowa Mountain in eastern Kyoto, Kiyomizu Temple wows travelers with its stunning natural scenery, which visitors say is best viewed from the verandah off the temple's main building. The "stage," as it's called, sits atop huge pillars more than 40 feet above the hillside and affords visitors panoramas of the surrounding forest. Those views are even more beautiful in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom or in the fall with the changing foliage. When you're done taking in the temple's surrounding beauty, you are invited to drink from the Otowa Waterfall, which gave the temple its name (kiyomizu means "pure water"). The waterfall is divided into three streams, each of which is said to bring longevity, academic success or love, respectively. But according to temple etiquette, drinking from all three streams is bad luck, so don't be greedy.
Also within in the complex is the Jishu Shrine, a red-lacquered temple dedicated to Okuninushi-no-mikoto, the Shinto god of love. Visitors who can successfully walk between two stones outside of the shrine with their eyes closed (the stones are about 20 feet apart) will supposedly have their love-related wishes granted. Along with toying with their fates, recent travelers also enjoyed the souvenir shops found along the path to the temple. Many visitors insist that Kiyomizu Temple should be on every Kyoto traveler's to-do list.
Kiyomizu Temple opens at 6 a.m. every day of the year and closes between 6 and 6:30 p.m. daily, depending on the season. On certain holidays, the temple hosts special night hours. For ordinary visiting hours, admission is 400 yen (about $3.50). Ask about the special tour given in English for international visitors. To get there, take bus No. 100 or 206 from Kyoto Station to Gojo-zaka or Kiyomizu-michi bus stops, which are both a 10-minute walk from the temple. For more information, visit Kiyomizu Temple's website.
- Thing to Do