Located at the top of a hill, Kiyomizu-dera Temple which translates to ‘Pure Water Temple‘ sits on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites. In 2007, Kiyomizu-dera also made it to the top 21 finalists for the New Seven Wonders of The World.

There are many shrines within the temple complex, some of which were under construction when I visited. There is a main hall best known for being built without nails. There exists a belief that if one is able to survive a jump of 13m off the edge of the stage in the main hall, their wish would be granted. There have been 234 attempted jumps recorded in history of which 85.4% survived. However, this was a long time ago in the Edo period which is a period between 1603-1868 and this practice is now prohibited.

There is also the Jishu shrine which attached to it is a belief that if one is able to find their way from one stone to another, which are sitting in front of the shrine 18m apart, with their eyes closed, they will be in luck with their love life.

The Otawa Waterfall is a structure located at the base of the main hall where three streams of water flowing from the structure symbolise different things. If drunk, it is believed that each stream will either bring you longevity, a great love life or success.

There is a three story pagoda that is bright red, almost orange, that adds so much colour and life to the complex. It is located at the very front of the complex near the entrance.

Culturally rich, many visitors come to this temple to enjoy the view, capture photos of the beautiful structures, dress up (rent) in kimonos for photos, taste local Japanese foods and learn about the history behind the Kiyomizu-dera. It is a walk through the steep lanes of Higashiyama District where visitors can eat, shop and take a short hike up to the temple.

It is one of the most culturally and historically rich temples in Japan that you would not want to miss!

Entrance to the Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Three Story Pagoda

Higashiyama District

View from the top of the hill

Sunset from the top of the hill




  1. Beautiful photos. Pictures of the Temple and its history was great. So much can still be learned from days gone past. Shots of the sunset are fantastic. I really enjoy the simplicity of Japanese décor. Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for these – I haven’t been there for almost 20 years now, and certainly brought back memories. It is the kind of place that leaves an impression upon you – especially looking at the supporting structure when down by the water fountains.

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      1. I was lucky on that I was sent to Japan many times on business – in Toyokawa – and was lucky enough to spend many days being treated to the beauty of Kyoto many times. (And was lucky enough to have an almost private showing of the Emperor’s Palace at Nijo Castle (well, there were 3 of us shown through at a time it was closed to the public). Gosh, almost 25 years ago! But Kiyomizu Dera was my favourite. Always beautiful after walking up. (And in those days, I had to use 35mm film! I may still have the prints, somewhere)

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      2. Wow! That sounds incredible. I hope you decide to share those photos if you manage to find them. I’m curious to see it would have looked back then!


    1. Hey Jess, thank you so much! I hope some of my posts will help in deciding where you want to go. So many more places in Japan I have been to but haven’t had a chance to post. I hope your trip to Japan is a blast 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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