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Kiyomizu Temple

Constructed entirely without nails and built on high poles, this temple is part of a World Heritage Site and offers visitors both beauty and history.

Nestled in the Otowa Mountain, to the east of central Kyōto, the Buddhist temple of Kiyomizu is one of the city’s most popular attractions, attracting millions of visitors each year. The current temple buildings date from the 15th to 17th centuries, but there has been a temple here since 778.

Enter through the red and gold Deva gate, and head up a steep incline to the temple. There are two approaches you can take, each lined with stalls selling snacks, local pottery work, incense and souvenirs. The Main Hall is the prominent feature of the temple, and houses an image of the goddess of mercy, Kannon Bodhisattva.

Pilgrims have visited the temple for hundreds of years. To accommodate the pilgrims, a veranda was built on the Main Hall during the Edo period (1603-1868). Huge poles support the cedar slabs that make up the veranda. From here you have a view out to the city and over the hundreds of cherry trees planted in the temple gardens.

You can also visit Otowa-no-taki waterfall and sip the water, which is said to have special properties, giving the drinker longevity, wisdom and good health. The romantic minded can venture to the Jishu shrine, where it is said that if you walk from one rock with your eyes closed and find your way to the second, you’ll find true love. The temple grounds also feature a three-tiered pagoda and 1,000 stone Buddha statues. In the fall the gardens are lit up so that you can enjoy the fiery colors of the maples in the garden.

The temple is open daily and there is a fee to enter the complex. Take public transportation or a cab as there is no car parking on site. Buses depart from Kyōto Station, the city’s main transportation hub. It’s best to arrive early if you want to beat the crowds.

Popular Activities at Kiyomizu Temple

Want to be certain to get the most out of your time here? Here are some of the most popular activities that will help you:

If you'd like even more options, have a look at our Kyoto things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Kiyomizu Temple


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Kiyomizu Temple

See all 2,278 Properties near Kiyomizu Temple
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥9,360
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA  ¥9,606
    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    44-1, Kamitonodacho, Higashikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Higashikujo Nishisannocho, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Jujo Station is 15 minutes.

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto ¥11,852
      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower, and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Shichijo Station is 12 minutes.

        Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto ¥1,667
        Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto

        Santiago Guesthouse Kyoto

        6-503, Gojohashi-higashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Kyoto, this guesthouse is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto National Museum, Kiyomizu Temple, and Sanjusangendo Temple. Gion Corner and Yasaka Shrine are also within 15 minutes. Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Shichijo Station is 14 minutes.

          MINSYUKU KIYOMIZUSANSO ¥10,000
          MINSYUKU KIYOMIZUSANSO

          MINSYUKU KIYOMIZUSANSO

          3-341 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Sannenzaka Ninenzaka, this ryokan is within a 10-minute walk of Hokanji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, and Yasaka Shrine. Chion-in Temple and Kiyamachi Street are also within 1 mi (2 km). Higashiyama Station is 20 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 17 minutes.

            Hyatt Regency Kyoto ¥28,800
            Hyatt Regency Kyoto

            Hyatt Regency Kyoto

            644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in the historical district, this luxury hotel is steps from Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Shichijo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 14 minutes.

              Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto ¥122,400
              Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

              Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto

              445-3 Myohoin Maekawa-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in the heart of Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Sanjusangendo Temple, Kiyomizu Temple, and Gion Corner. Kyoto Tower and Heian Shrine are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 14 minutes by foot and Kyoto Shichijo Station is 15 minutes.

                Kiyomizu Sannenzaka ¥3,704
                Kiyomizu Sannenzaka

                Kiyomizu Sannenzaka

                2-257-4 Kiymomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Sannenzaka Ninenzaka, this apartment building is within a 10-minute walk of Ryozen Kannon War Memorial, Ryozen Museum of History, and Kiyomizu Temple. Kodaiji Temple is 0.4 mi (0.7 km) away. Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 16 minutes by foot and Kyoto Gion-Shijo Station is 19 minutes.