Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera (Temple)

Located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture in Japan, Kiyomizu-dera Temple (清水寺) is an independent Buddhist temple. It is part of the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage of Western Japan.
Officially called Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, the temple was founded in the year 798. Its present buildings were constructed in 1633 under the order of Tokugawa Iemitsu. The name Kiyomizu came from the Japanese words kiyo which means clean of pure and mizu which means water. It got its name from the waterfalls within the complex.
A vintage photo of the temple (photo from
Nio-mon gate
A closer photo of Nio-mon gate
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is famous for the main hall that has a large veranda which is jutting on the side of a hill and is supported by tall wooden pillars. It is said that it was built without the use of a single nail. The veranda offers an impressive panoramic view of the temple complex and the city. 
A picture taken from the pagoda
The belfry

An important rock near the front gate
Can someone please tell me what is written on the rock?
Outside one of the temples in the vicinity
The temple as seen from the pagoda

The pagoda as seen from the temple
The Pagoda
Who on earth wears a metal slipper that's as heavy as a car...
A Fujicolor info board
The most famous "angle" of the temple
Now this one is a frontal shot
The view from the veranda
Years ago, during the Edo period, the Japanese believe that if one survived the 43-foot jump from the veranda to the base of the temple, that person's wishes were granted. There were 234 recorded "jumpers" in the temple's history and about 30 of them never got the chance to see their wishes come true. (There were no recorded story of which a wish come true though.) Because of that "jumping off the stage at Kiyomizu" became prohibited to this day. (Thank goodness there would only be a small chance that you'd see a corpse at the base of the temple).
Otowa Falls
Doing some purification ritual at Otowa Falls
There are other places worth visiting in the temple complex like the Otowa waterfall. Its three channels of water falls into a pond. Visitors can catch and drink it on the belief that in doing so, they would have a long healthy and successful life. (A much better belief to follow than jumping from the veranda.)
Jizo Buddhist images
Can someone translate this for me?
My wife posing ala monk
Kiyomizu-dera Temple was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
At the entrance torii gate

Selfie near the pagoda
We visited this beautiful temple during our 9th day of stay in Japan. It is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site that my wife and I visited. Everything written on travel magazines and books were all true. Kiyomizu-dera Temple truly is captivating.

Getting there:

From Kansai International Airport, ride a JR Haruka Limited Express going to Kyoto. From there ride a bus #100 or 206. It will take you about 15 minutes to get to Kiyomizumichi or Gojo-zaka  bus stop. From there it would be a 10 minute uphill walk to get to the temple vicinity.

Overall rating


  1. I love kiyomizu dera temple. Omamori of this temple is aivalable on ... I hope one day to return to Japan

    1. Great. Thanks for visiting Marc. Hope you could send in one of those omamoris so that I could blog about them too. =P


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