Kiyomizu-dera/Kiyomizudera is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto that is typically on every tourist’s must-see list. This is not surprising as it’s one of the most exquisite temples in Kyoto. Specially, during Spring and Autumn, the surrounding flowering trees and fall foliage along with the colorful pagoda make for postcard perfect photos.
Since it’s so popular, it also means that it’s very crowded right from the point where Matsubara Dori meets Higashi Oji Dori, where you begin the uphill journey to the temple. Here, I am suggesting an alternate route to Kiyomizu-dera which can give you some rerprieve from the crowd.
Before I explain the alternate route, first I will lay out the usual route that is taken by most tourists to Kiyomizudera.
The usual route is a very simple route. However, as I mentioned before there is an alternate route that is less crowded. This route may not be preferred by some due to reasons I’ll explain later. Nonetheless, this route is beautiful in its own way and quite peaceful being away from the crowd. The bonus is that you will see some more temples along the way as well.
So, here’s the route
At the top, apart from the main temple off Kiyomizu-dera, there are other structures such as the elaborate gates, shinto shrines and other Buddhist halls and temples. All of them are worth a capture. Check out my collection:
The sad part for me though, when I visited Kiyomizudera, was that the main temple was under construction. The roof restoration is scheduled to last till March 2020. So, if you are visiting during this time, you will also miss the view of Kiyomizudera in its entriety. However, you can still see part of the wooden stage which Kiyomizudera is famous for.
To get inside Kiyomizu-dera, you have to pay an entrance fee of 300 yen. You can buy the ticket from the ticket sales booth near by.
Another attraction, apart from the Kiyomizu-dera, that draws people to this place is the Otowa Waterfall. After you visit the temple, you will notice a long line in front of a small temple like structure with three streams of water flowing down from pipes in the roof. Legend has it that the three streams of water from the Otawa Waterfall represent Long life/ good health, Love and Knowledge.
Whichever you need most in life, go for that stream. However, don’t drink from more than one stream. It’s considered bad form and a display of greedy behaviour. Also, if you do this, your blessings are apparently halved.
Your journey doesn’t end here. There is a path that continues on from Kiyomizu-dera to Koyasu Pagoda and Taisanji Temple. It’s not too far and I would recommend visiting it. If you are expecting a child soon, you can pray at Koyasu Pagoda for a safe childbirth.
You can venture further and visit the Taisanji Temple.
After visiting all the temples, you can head down Matsubara Dori and enjoy the shops and restaurants along the way. This way you will not miss out on Matsubara Dori, if you used the alternate route to go up hill.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it useful. If so, please don’t forget to share it on social media.
Also, If you use this route to get to Kiyomizu-dera, please come back and comment. I would like to know if you enjoyed this route.
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