5 Facts You Might Not Know About Kiyomizu Temple In Kyoto

5 Facts You Might Not Know About Kiyomizu Temple In Kyoto
| 3 min read

Kiyomizu Temple (Kiyomizu-dera) is one of the most popular spots to visit in Kyoto, Japan. Even though it is famous, don’t let that be your only reason for visiting! From an amazing architectural feat to the meaning behind its name, there are some interesting facts and useful travel tips about this Kyoto based temple that you should know! Read on to learn more about Kiyomizu Temple to enhance your visit!

1. Kiyomizu Temple opens its door at 6am while everyone else is sleeping

Kyoto-Kiyomizu Temple-2
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Christopher Mann ... used under CC BY 2.5

In general, the opening hours of temples and shrines in Kyoto start from 9am, but Kiyomizu Temple opens its gate to visitors at 6am in the morning! Visiting the temple at dawn has its perks, as there are no traffic jams at this hour and the popular Kiyomizu is free from the usual tourist crowds. Enjoy a moment of quiet bliss and tranquility as you walk around the temple grounds. The earliest bus service from JR Kyoto Station bus terminal is usually from 5:33am, thus, even if you are not staying within walking distance, there is a way to get to Kiyomizu Temple!

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2. Not a single nail was used for the construction of the verandah at the Main Hall!

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jordy Meow used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The highlight of Kiyomizu Temple is the 13-meter-high (42.6-foot-high) verandah at the main hall. It composed of 139 trees and not a single nail was used to fix this iconic platform where hordes of visitors linger for a customary photo stop. The verandah was built using the method called ‘hell frame’. Although this verandah was built almost 400 years ago and no metal nails were used in its construction, it is still standing sturdy and in a good shape!

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3. Blessed water from Otowa Waterfall to improve three aspects of life

Otowa waterfall at Kiyomizu-dera
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hu Totya used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The name of Kiyomizu-dera (its literal meaning is Pure Water Temple) originates from Otowa Waterfall, which you can see under the main verandah. There are three streams of water and it is believed that the blessed water can improve aspects of academic, relationships, and enhance longevity. The locals would visit to draw the water too, as this pure water is perfect for making coffee and tea.

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4. All the sloped streets to Kiyomizu Temple are full of interesting shops and restaurants

Kiyomizu street

There is a total of 5 slopes leading towards Kiyomizu Temple. Along all of these streets are numerous shops and cafes, which you will enjoy strolling around. It is, therefore, not so much of a challenge to climb up to Kiyomizu Temple! You can relax and take it easy! It is no wonder that Kiyomizu Temple is a popular destination; it is not only the site itself, but also the neighborhood that makes the area appealing.

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5. Look out for the blue light that shines towards Heaven!

Kiyomizu-Dera with night light up
Source: 岡本 大樹

One is considered to be very lucky if you can visit Kyoto during one of its best seasons - at the time when the area is full of cherry blossoms during spring or red leaves during autumn. At this time, the night sky will be lit in a spectacular manner. Usually, the light-up event is from the end of March to early April (spring) and from mid-November to early December (autumn / winter) every year. Enjoy the very best views at these times! The blue beam can be seen in the easterly direction from Kyoto’s downtown area. Coming from Kiyomizu Temple, it shines in a direction (supposedly) towards Heaven, in the west! Do keep a lookout for it! You may find the schedule for the light-up events here.

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Bonus: Book a Kyoto Tea Ceremony & Kiyomizu-dera Temple Walking Tour (87 USD)

5 facts you might not know about kiyomizu temple in kyoto | bonus: book a kyoto tea ceremony & kiyomizu-dera temple walking tour
Source: Magical Trip

In this three-hour excursion, you can experience and perform an authentic tea ceremony, right in the city where The Way of the Tea was born: Kyoto! The Japanese Tea Ceremony is a cultural activity that involves the ceremonial preparation of powdered green tea. This all-inclusive tour will also take you inside one of the most celebrated temples in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Here, you will learn about Japanese religious cultures, such as how they pray to and worship their gods, all while surrounded by numerous cherry and maple trees. As you journey through the ancient towns of Kyoto, your guide will take you to various shops where you can taste and sample local products such as pickles and sweets! And remember to keep your eyes peeled during the tour because, if you’re lucky enough, you might just spot a geisha or maiko!

Kyoto Tea Ceremony & Kiyomizu-dera Temple Walking Tour

Duration: 3 hours

Price: 87 USD

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Are you ready to visit Kiyomizu Temple?

These five interesting facts about Kiyomizu Temple may have inspired you to visit soon … and with good reason! Arrange your trip and explore! You will likely find even more fascinating facts during your trip, and we’d love for you to share them with us!

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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