Kiyomizudera Temple is one of the most iconic and historic temples in Kyoto, Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of Otowa Waterfall, and it is known for its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and panoramic views of Kyoto. The temple’s name means “Pure Water Temple,” which references the waterfall that flows through the complex.
Visiting Kiyomizudera Temple is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Kyoto. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan.
Take your time to explore the temple’s many halls and buildings, including the Main Hall, which houses a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The temple’s most iconic feature is its wooden stage, which juts out from the Main Hall and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area.
History and Background
Kiyomizudera Temple, also known as Kiyomizu Temple, is a Buddhist temple located in eastern Kyoto, Japan. The temple was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto. The temple derives its name from the fall’s pure waters. The temple is part of the Historic Monuments of the Ancient Kyoto UNESCO World Heritage site.
The temple has a long and rich history spanning over 1200 years. The original structure was built during the Heian period (794-1185) and has since been rebuilt and renovated several times. The present buildings date back to 1633 and were reconstructed without the use of nails or any other metal fittings.
The temple is known for its unique architecture, which features a large veranda that juts out from the main hall, supported by a wooden platform and 139 pillars.
Kiyomizudera Temple has been an important place of worship and pilgrimage for centuries. It is dedicated to the Kannon Bodhisattva, the goddess of mercy, and is believed to have the power to grant wishes. The temple’s popularity among locals and tourists alike is due to its beautiful surroundings, stunning views of Kyoto, and the spiritual significance it holds for many.
The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect of Buddhism but later became independent. The temple is now part of the Kitahosso sect, one of the 13 schools of Japanese Buddhism.
Architecture and Design
Kiyomizudera Temple is a masterpiece of Japanese architecture and design. The temple’s unique design is characterized by its wooden platform, which is supported by a series of wooden pillars. This platform, known as the Kiyomizu Stage, is an impressive feat of engineering, as it was built without the use of nails or screws. The stage offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the city of Kyoto and is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike.
The temple’s main hall, known as the Hondo, is a beautiful example of traditional Japanese architecture. The Hondo is a large wooden building with a thatched roof and features intricate carvings and decorations. Inside the Hondo, visitors can see a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy, and a number of other important religious artifacts.
The temple also features a number of other buildings and structures, including a pagoda, a bell tower, and a number of smaller shrines and statues. Each of these structures is beautifully crafted and decorated, and together they create a serene and peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for meditation and contemplation.
Temple’s design and construction were heavily influenced by the principles of Buddhism and Shintoism and it’s built on the site of a sacred waterfall, and it is believed that the water from the waterfall has healing powers.
The temple’s design was also influenced by the natural landscape of the surrounding area, with the wooden platform of the Kiyomizu Stage built to jut out over the hillside and provide a stunning view of the city below.
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Main Hall and Surrounding Buildings
The Main Hall of Kiyomizudera Temple is a stunning wooden building that was constructed without the use of nails. The hall is supported by 139 pillars and stands 13 meters high. It houses the temple’s primary object of worship, a small statue of the eleven-faced, thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva. The Main Hall is a designated National Treasure and is a must-see attraction for visitors to the temple.
Surrounding the Main Hall are several other buildings that are worth exploring. One of these buildings is the Jishu Shrine, which is dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. Visitors can try their luck at finding love by walking between two stones with their eyes closed. If they make it from one stone to the other, it is said that they will find their true love.
Another building worth visiting is the Okunoin Hall, which houses a statue of Amida Buddha. The hall is located behind the Main Hall and can be reached by following a path through a bamboo grove. The sound of the bamboo leaves rustling in the wind is a peaceful and calming experience.
Also don’t forget to check out the three-storied Koyasu Pagoda, which is dedicated to the deity of safe childbirth and child-rearing. The pagoda is located near the entrance of the temple and offers a great view of the surrounding area.
Visiting Kiyomizudera Temple
Kiyomizudera Temple is one of the most famous temples in Japan and a must-visit attraction in Kyoto. Here are some tips for visiting Kiyomizudera:
The temple is located on a hillside in eastern Kyoto, and can be reached by bus or train. The nearest train station is Kiyomizu-Gojo Station on the Keihan Line, from which the temple is a 20-minute walk. Alternatively, visitors can take a bus from Kyoto Station, which takes about 30 minutes.
Admission and Hours
The temple is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. Admission costs ¥400 for adults and ¥200 for children. Visitors can also purchase a combination ticket for ¥800, which includes admission to the temple’s sub-temple, Jishu Shrine.
Exploring the Temple
One of the main attractions of Kiyomizudera is its wooden terrace, which offers stunning views of Kyoto. Visitors can also explore the temple’s various halls and pagodas, including the iconic three-storied pagoda. Don’t miss the Otowa Waterfall, where visitors can drink from one of three streams, each of which is said to have a different benefit.
Tips for Visitors
- Wear comfortable shoes, as the temple grounds are steep and there are many stairs.
- Visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid crowds.
- Be respectful of the temple and its surroundings, and follow all posted rules and regulations.
A visit to Kiyomizudera Temple is a must every time we visit kyoto. With its stunning views, rich history, and beautiful architecture, it’s always a highlight of our trip to Kyoto.
Tips and Recommendations
Visiting Kiyomizudera Temple can be an unforgettable experience, but it’s important to be prepared before you go. Here are some tips and recommendations to help make your visit as enjoyable as possible:
The Sum Up
Kiyomizudera Temple is one of the most iconic and popular temples in Kyoto, Japan. With its rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking views, it’s no wonder why visitors from all over the world flock to this temple every year.
From the famous Otowa Waterfall to the beautiful cherry blossoms in spring, the temple is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Kyoto.
While visiting the temple, visitors should keep in mind that it can get quite crowded, especially during peak tourist season. It’s recommended to visit early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds and get the most out of your visit.
Additionally, visitors should be respectful of the temple’s rules and customs. Shoes must be removed before entering the temple buildings, and photography is not allowed inside some areas. You should also be mindful of noise levels and avoid disturbing other visitors who may be praying or meditating.
Overall, Kiyomizudera Temple is a truly special place that offers a unique glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. With its stunning architecture, beautiful natural surroundings, and peaceful atmosphere, it’s no wonder why it’s considered one of the most important and beloved temples in all of Japan.