Japan 2016 : Part 6 – Kiyomizudera Temple

This is part of an ongoing travelogue. To start at the very beginning, click here.

Day 3 in Kyoto started earlier than usual, it turned out to be a cold day. Today, our plan was rather ambitious – we planned to see Kiyomizudera temple, have traditional Kyoto sushi at Izuju and visit Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka, Maruyama Park and Shoren-In en route there. After lunch, drop by Gion by way of Ishibei-koji. In the afternoon, while there is still daylight, we plan to visit Fushimi Inari. As I said, very ambitious plan, so that’s why we needed to start early.

(clear weather but cold today)

First thing was to take a bus from our Airbnb to Kiyomizudera (“Pure Water Temple”). The bus stop is quite far from the temple, so be prepared to walk a bit. On the way we encountered lots of school field trip groups.

(early December is the peak time for school trips)

About halfway uphill, you will see the temple far off in the distance, but still quite a long ways to go. But on both sides there are lots of shops selling souvenirs and snacks.

(see the temple up there in the distance? We’re only halfway there)

By the time you reach the temple, you can see how impressive it is.

(the entrance to the temple complex)

There’s an entrance fee of JPY 400 for adults (slight discount for children below 15) but I feel this is one of the most beautiful temples in Kyoto so it is definitely worth the admission ticket.

Inside the temple, you won’t see the grandeur of it until you step onto the viewing deck later.

(lots of souvenirs and paraphernalia for sale)

(this is popular with the china tourists)

Once on the viewing deck, you can see the splendor of the view. Best to visit during autumn colours or spring cherry blossom. That’s the Okunoin Hall on the left side of the main hall.

(view from the main platform)

Another view you must not miss is the view of the main viewing deck from Okunoin Hall.

You can see the timber supports holding up the temple for the last 1,236 years.

If you follow the crowds along the walkway, it will swirl down the hillside to the bottom of the temple where you can see Otowa Waterfall. There are 3 streams where you are supposed to collect with a cup attached to a long stick and drink from it. Very popular.

(see the queue of people to drink from the fountain?)

Further down the path you will see a traditional teahouse open for business, and a pool and rock garden.

(Why anyone wants to have tea outdoors in the freezing weather is beyond me)

Towards the end of the path, you will be led to the entrance of the temple again.

Kiyomizudera and Fushimi Inari are two most famous temples in Japan and very popular with tourists (the latter was voted no.1 among foreigners). If you have limited time, you should pick Kiyomizudera over the dozens of other temples as it is indeed beautiful and quite accessible from public transport (the long walk notwithstanding).

Next – traditional Kyoto sushi at Izuju.

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