Kiyomizudera Temple

Kyoto Things to See

Kyoto, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 12:39PM

9.6 / 49.2

The Pure Water Temple

Kiyomizu Temple, or Kiyomizudera, means "Pure Water Temple." It is one of the most famous and popular temples in Kyoto and all of Japan. Founded in 780, it was built on the site of a waterfall and derives its name from there. It is best known for its wooden stage platform adjacent to the main hall. This stage is 13 meters above the hills that surroudn the temple, which allow visitors to view beautiful foliage in fall and cherry blossoms in spring, and to see downtown Kyoto from a distance. In 1994, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

The lead-up walk to the temple is almost as fun as the temple visit itself. Kiyomizudera is located in Higashiyama, a hilly district in eastern Kyoto with lots of temples and shrines, as well as amazing views of traditional buildings and shops and restaurants. 

The Otowa Waterfall, the site of the temple's construction, is located at the base of Kiyomizudera's main hall. The waters are divided into three streams, and visitors use long poles with cups attached to drink from the streams. Each stream has a different benefit and meaning, (long life and health, sucess in school/career, and a fruitful love life), but visitors are only supposed to drink from one, as drinking from all three is seen as selfish or greedy. 

Drinking from the Otowa Waterfall

Behind the main hall is Jishu Shrine, which is a shrine worshipping the deity of love. There are two love stones at the shrine, and finding your way from one to the other with your eyes closed means you will be lucky in love. 

Love Stones at Jishu Shrine

Okunion Hall is also on the temple grounds, and is like the main hall in that it also has a stage, but it is smaller. There are also halls near Okuin Hall dedicated to Buddha. A small hall is also for Jizo, a guardian of travelers and of children. On the southern end of the ground is the Koyasu Pagoda, said to bring safe childbirth. 

Autumn Illumination at Kiyomizudera

The temple also has illuminations during the autumn foliage season and in March for the Hanatoro event, which is illuminations throughout the Higashiyama district. 

Notice: Currently, buildings at Kiyomizudera are under renovation and will remain this way over the next few years.

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