Rating: 4.5

Address: 1-chōme-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto, 605-0862, Japan


Vadim Solodukhin: UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in 778. Takes its name from the waterfall within the complex: Kiyomizu means " pure water". Many temple's buildings date back to 1633. There's no single nail used in the entire structure. A very popular tourist destination: really crowded. You will have to get there at 6-7 in the morning to get decent pictures. Even at this time you should be able to buy tickets at the entrance. The complex is quite large so give yourself ample time.

Jarrod McTeggart: Really stunning temple in Kyoto. This is such a must visit spot! It will be crowded, so I’d would advise to walk further inwards away from the crowds for some breathing room. Lots of quirky little shrines and view points if you explore. 500 yen for entry but you don’t need to pay if you just want to explore around the temple.

Ellie C: Beautiful temple on top of the lovely Geisha district. The temple comes with great views of the city, not to mention how gorgeous the temple is by itself. You have to pay to enter certain parts, however it is free to roam around most of the temple. There were toilets available and lots to see at the top! Truly stunning and a must visit.

Anya K: A Kyoto must-see!! Beware that there will be lots of tourists (as expected). I recommend walking up to it via the southern street/entrance & not walking along 清水新道 (way too many people). I didn’t go inside as the sheer amount of people was too much but you get amazing view regardless!! We went later in the day around 2-3pm when the sun hit the tower perfectly!

Wellington Silva: A nice place to visit and enjoy the rich Japanese culture and history. There are amazing buildings with incredible details and historical significance. The whole area is absolutely crowded, with thousands of people trying to get the best photos and videos. It can be quite challenging if you have mobility issues or need to manage kids in the crowd.

Opening Times:

  • Monday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Sunday: 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM


Welcome to Kiyomizu-dera, one of Kyoto’s most iconic and beloved temples. Officially known as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, this historic site is a UNESCO World Heritage site and attracts millions of visitors each year. Perched on the hills of eastern Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera offers breathtaking views, stunning architecture, and a deep connection to Japan’s cultural and spiritual heritage.

Historical Significance

Founded in 778 AD during the Heian period, Kiyomizu-dera has been a significant place of worship for over a millennium. The temple is dedicated to Kannon, the goddess of mercy, and has been a site of pilgrimage for centuries. Its name, which means “Pure Water Temple,” derives from the Otowa Waterfall, which flows through the temple grounds and is believed to have purifying properties.

Architectural Marvel

Kiyomizu-dera’s main hall (Hondo) is renowned for its large wooden stage that juts out from the hillside, offering spectacular views of the city of Kyoto and the surrounding forests. This stage, supported by hundreds of wooden pillars, was constructed without the use of nails—a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of ancient Japanese carpenters. The main hall houses the temple’s primary object of worship, a statue of the eleven-faced, thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva.

The Otowa Waterfall

The Otowa Waterfall is a significant feature of Kiyomizu-dera. Visitors can drink from the waterfall’s three streams, each believed to bestow a different benefit: longevity, success in school, and a fortunate love life. Using ladles to collect and drink the water, visitors partake in a ritual that has been performed for centuries.

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The Koyasu Pagoda

Another notable structure within the temple grounds is the Koyasu Pagoda. This three-story pagoda is situated a short walk from the main hall and is associated with safe childbirth. Pregnant women often visit the pagoda to pray for a smooth delivery, adding a personal and touching aspect to the temple’s spiritual offerings.

Seasonal Beauty

Kiyomizu-dera is celebrated for its seasonal beauty. In spring, the temple is surrounded by cherry blossoms, creating a picturesque and enchanting atmosphere. Autumn brings vibrant foliage, with the maple trees around the temple turning brilliant shades of red and orange. The temple is also beautifully illuminated during special nighttime viewing events, providing a magical experience for visitors.

The Surrounding Area

The approach to Kiyomizu-dera is equally enchanting. The narrow streets leading to the temple are lined with traditional shops, teahouses, and eateries, offering a variety of local crafts, souvenirs, and Kyoto specialties. This vibrant area, known as the Higashiyama District, is perfect for a leisurely stroll before or after your visit to the temple.


A visit to Kiyomizu-dera is a journey through history, culture, and spirituality. The temple’s stunning architecture, scenic views, and rich traditions make it a must-see destination in Kyoto. Whether you’re drinking from the Otowa Waterfall, marveling at the wooden stage, or simply enjoying the natural beauty, Kiyomizu-dera offers an unforgettable experience.

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