Kiyomizu-dera: A Historic Temple in Kyoto

Kiyomizu-dera stands as a testament to Kyoto's enduring cultural heritage and natural beauty. With its awe-inspiring architecture, historical significance, and seasonal splendor, it offers visitors a unique and enriching experience.

Jun 14, 2024 - 17:37
Jun 9, 2024 - 17:39
Kiyomizu-dera: A Historic Temple in Kyoto
Image source: Wikipedia

Kiyomizu-dera, one of Kyoto's most celebrated temples, offers visitors an unforgettable blend of natural beauty, architectural grandeur, and cultural significance. Located in the eastern part of Kyoto, this UNESCO World Heritage Site attracts millions of visitors each year, eager to explore its rich history and stunning vistas.

Founded in 778, Kiyomizu-dera, which translates to "Pure Water Temple," was originally associated with the Hosso sect of Japanese Buddhism. The temple's name is derived from the Otowa Waterfall, which runs through the complex and is believed to have healing properties. The current buildings were constructed in 1633, during the Edo period, under the patronage of Tokugawa Iemitsu.

One of the most iconic features of Kiyomizu-dera is its wooden stage, which juts out from the main hall, providing breathtaking views of the surrounding cherry and maple trees. The stage is supported by hundreds of wooden pillars, assembled without the use of nails, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of the era. This engineering marvel has allowed the structure to withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters over the centuries.

The Otowa Waterfall is divided into three streams, and visitors can drink from each stream using cups attached to long poles. Each stream is believed to grant a different benefit: success in school, love, and longevity. Drinking from all three streams is considered greedy, so visitors often choose one based on their desires.

Within the temple grounds lies Jishu Shrine, dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. The shrine is famous for its pair of "love stones" placed 18 meters apart. It is said that if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, you will find true love. Many visitors, especially young couples, come to test their luck and make wishes for romantic success.

Kiyomizu-dera is a year-round destination, with each season offering a unique experience. In spring, the temple is surrounded by blooming cherry blossoms, creating a picturesque scene. Autumn brings vibrant hues of red and orange, making it one of the best spots for viewing fall foliage in Kyoto. Even in winter, the temple's serene atmosphere and the potential for snow-covered landscapes provide a peaceful retreat.

Kiyomizu-dera is conveniently located near the historic Higashiyama district, making it easy to combine a visit with other cultural sites. The temple is accessible via a short walk from the Kiyomizu-Gojo Station or by bus from Kyoto Station. To fully appreciate its beauty and avoid crowds, visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon is recommended.

InJavi "InJavi" is a website that provides information for foreigners to enjoy life and visit in Japan more smoothly. This website is easy to use even for first-timers to Japan and those who are not very good at Japanese, and supports multiple languages. 「InJavi」は、外国人が日本の生活や観光をよりスムーズに楽しむための情報を提供するウェブサイトです。 初めて日本を訪れる方や日本語が苦手な方でも使いやすい、多言語対応サイトです。