In Japan, there are two main religions: Buddhism and Shintoism. In Buddhism, the main place of practice is a temple, for Shintoism it is a shrine. Kiyomizu-dera is labeled as a temple, but it also houses a shrine.

The temple

At the temple, there are many buildings for prayer and each one is for something different. For example, one is for fertility and forgiveness. Just like other temples, Kiyomizu-dera has places for ritual hand washing. One that draws a crowd has beautiful architecture and unique water features. One area holds a standing bell. One walks up, bows, kneels down, rings the bell, prays, gets up and bows again. Kiyomizu-dera has a wide array of ways to pay respects and pray in Buddhist practice.

The sights

The main thing the temple is known for is the Hinoki wooden stage. It is a balcony-like structure that allows visitors a gorgeous view of the cityscape in Kyoto. No matter the weather, it will not disappoint.

While wandering around the temple, visitors will see more views of Kyoto and a pond, which is home to vibrantly colored and massive koi fish. To get through to this marvelous pond, guests will walk down a winding path through the surrounding nature.

Some guests visiting Kiyomizu-dera will feel more connected to their surroundings because of the sights and views seen throughout.

The area

Leading up and out of the temple are unique shopping, dining and dressing opportunities. If visitors are hoping to buy local pottery or statues, the shops leading outside of Kiyomizu-dera are the perfect side trip. Along with this, people can try Kyoto cuisine from food vendors or go visit the nearby Starbucks, which is housed in a building designed to match the local architecture. Finally, whether walking around town or going to visit the temple, people can dress up in the traditional kimonos or yukatas (typically worn in the summer).

The wonders of Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomizu-dera temple has so many opportunities and experiences to offer. When visiting Kyoto this has to be one of the must-dos on anyone’s list.

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