Kiyomizudera - Kyoto

Located in Higashiyama Ward in Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture in Japan, Kiyomizudera (清水寺) is an independent Buddhist temple. It is part of the Saigoku 33 Kannon Pilgrimage of Western Japan.


Kiyomizudera history

Officially called Otowa-san Kiyomizudera, 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 or pure and mizu which means water. It got its name from the waterfalls within the complex.

Kiyomizudera - Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture

A vintage photo of Kiyomizudera (photo from

Nio-mon gate

A closer photo of the Nio-mon gate

Kiyomizudera is famous for the main hall that has a large veranda that 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. 

Kiyomizudera Belfry

An important rock near the front gate

Can someone please tell me what is written on the rock?

Team Nicerio visits Kiyomizudera with Ms. Sawa

Kiyomizudera as seen from the Koyasu Pagoda

Koyasu Pagoda as seen from the Kiyomizudera

Koyasu Pagoda

Who on earth wears a metal slipper that's as heavy as a car...

Kiyomizudera info board for foreign tourists

The most famous "angle" of the Kiyomizudera

Now this one is a frontal photo of Kiyomizudera

The view from Kiyomizudera's veranda

Years ago, during the Edo period, the Japanese believed that if one survived the 43-foot jump from the veranda to the base of Kiyomizudera, that person's wishes would be 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 stories 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 Otowa Falls. The water from the falls is coursed into three channels that fall 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 in Kiyomizudera grounds

Can someone translate this for me?

My wife's first trip to Kiyomizudera

Kiyomizudera was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

The Backpack Adventures visits Kiyomizudera

Join me explore Kiyomizudera

We visited Kiyomizudera on the 9th day of our 2014-2015 Japan trip. It is the first UNESCO World Heritage Site that we visited. Everything written in travel magazines and books was all true. Kiyomizudera truly is captivating.

 As seen from Detective Conan Episode 927 - The Scarlet School Trip (Bright Red Arc) 

Kiyomizudera Entrance Fee

It costs 400 yen to enter and explore Kiyomizudera and its grounds. 

Kiyomizudera Operating Hours

Kiyomizudera is generally open from 6AM - 6PM but changes depending on the season

Why visit Kiyomizudera?

Kiyomizudera is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Kyoto City. It's a must-visit if you are exploring the city. Don't forget to head to its historic veranda and drink water from Otowa Falls. 

Getting to Kiyomizudera:

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

  2. Temples have always sparked my curiosity. They're so well built and beautiful, makes you wonder how they managed it years ago!! Thanks for a great post!

  3. Such a beautiful, dream-like place. Like the ones I only see in movies, legends, and yes anime. I can only imagine how such wooden structure can hold weight. But I've always been fascinated by places of worship around the world.

  4. I Love Budhist temples, they have so good energy.
    Survive at 43 foot jump?!? I think it is impossible!

    1. Hahaha, check out this Historical stats...
      234 jumps were recorded in the Edo period (1603-1867)
      Historical records claim that the youngest jumper was 12 and the oldest 80 and, of those who jumped, 85.4% survived.

      Thank God, the practice is now prohibited.

  5. The temple architecture looks beautiful. And the purifying ritual sounds interesting. I can't imagine this temple was built in 798!! And the 43 feet jump story is so intriguing!! A must visit I would say

    1. You should visit this place someday Neha. =) The feeling is very different when you see it in person.

  6. The Kiyomizu-Dera temple looks really exquisite and surreal. The fact that its history dates back to 798 makes the place all the more intriguing. I love Japanese temples as they have a strange and mystical beauty and the Kiyomizu Dera temple does have the quality.

    1. Same here Sandy. Given the chance, I would visit all the temples of Kyoto. =)

  7. Temples/Places of worship makes people more quieter. Its good to see history being preserved. Bodhi-sattava was an Indian man who went to the east and spoke about practices like Yoga and buddhism is what we hear in a movie made in an indian language.

    1. Thanks so much for the info about Bodhi-sattava Katchu. =)

  8. Wow! What an amazing place to visit. Will definitely try to squeeze this into our Japan itinerary. My family and I are going in May ☺

  9. Ooh I went there when I joined the fam tour of CebPac in Osaka. Kiyomizu-dera is such an amazing temple. I remember waiting in line to drink from Otawa falls, it was such an interesting custom that I had fun doing it. This post made me wish Osaka. I really want to go back to Japan to explore more.


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