Introduction to Kiyomizudera Temple
Located in the eastern part of Kyoto, the Kiyomizudera Temple, also known as the “Pure Water Temple”, is one of the most iconic and celebrated temples in Japan. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is celebrated for its wooden stage that juts out from the main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. This affords visitors stunning views of the city and the cherry and maple trees that proliferate the sprawling temple grounds.
The temple was established in 778, even before Kyoto became the capital of Japan. Its name, Kiyomizudera or “Pure Water Temple,” is derived from the Otawa Waterfall that runs through the temple grounds. It’s said that drinking from its waters can bestow health, longevity, and success in studies.
Attractions at Kiyomizudera Temple
Visiting Kiyomizudera Temple is like stepping back in time. From the vibrant pagodas to the serene Otawa Waterfall, there’s a timeless beauty that permeates throughout the temple grounds.
The temple’s main hall, or Hondo, is a designated national treasure. It houses the temple’s primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven-faced, thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva, which is said to be secreted and not shown to the public. The hall is renowned for its “stage” – a large veranda supported by a towering structure of wood, constructed without the use of nails. It provides a magnificent view over the city of Kyoto.
Jishu Shrine, located behind Kiyomizudera’s main hall, is a popular spot for those seeking luck in love. It’s said that if you can walk from one stone to another with your eyes closed, you will find true love.
Practical Information and Tips for a Seamless Visit
The temple opens from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm all year round, with extended hours during the spring and autumn seasons when the cherry blossoms and fall colors reach their peak. The temple grounds can get crowded, particularly during these peak seasons, so it’s best to visit early in the morning or later in the evening.
There’s a 400 yen entrance fee for adults and 200 yen for children, which covers access to the main hall and the temple grounds. Note that there’s a separate fee for Jishu Shrine and other particular structures.
Access to Kiyomizudera Temple
- The easiest way to reach Kiyomizudera is by bus. The number 100 or 206 bus from Kyoto Station will take you to Kiyomizu-michi Bus Stop, which is a 10-minute uphill walk to the temple.
- Alternatively, you can take the Keihan Railway Line to Kiyomizu-gojo Station, followed by a 20-minute walk to the temple. This path takes you through the preserved district of Higashiyama, with its quaint shops and cafes, enhancing the journey to the temple.
Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a lover of architecture, or a spiritual seeker, a visit to Kiyomizudera Temple offers a profound and unforgettable experience. Take your time to soak in the tranquil atmosphere, and let the elegance and serenity of this ancient temple move you.