One of the city’s 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Kiyomizu dera Temple in Kyoto, is a must-see attraction for any tourist visiting this historic capital. Built as a place of reflection for several Buddhist sects, the temple’s beauty and tranquility have long lured visitors throughout its history.
Founded in 778, the current buildings were erected in 1633, making it one of the oldest wooden structures in the world. Not a single nail was used during the construction of the vast complex. The temple, which translates to ‘pure water’, takes its name from the waterfall within the complex. Visitors should spare a moment to drink from the three smaller falls beneath the temple to bring good luck to their trip.
Several shrines exist within the temple, including a dedicated site for mizuko juzo, a uniquely Japanese practice of blessing the unborn, and another devoted to Okuninushi, a love god. For those hoping to find “the one”, walking from one of two blessed stones and successfully locating the other – all with their eyes closed – can grant divine fortune to their love life.
The temple’s position offers spectacular panoramic views of Kyoto as well as the truly unique ambience of being above the treetops. Requiring a bit of a climb, the effort of the ascent is forgotten as you explore the halls, traditional stalls and endless photo opportunities along the way. Visit this stunning temple and enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of rising above the ancient capital.
The Kiyomizudera Temple opening hours vary from season to season and change to accommodate spectacular night viewing events.