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Perhaps the most famous of all temples in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera draws lots of visitors all year round. Located along the hillside in the eastern mountains, a 15–20 minute walk from the River Kamo at Gojō street, the main attraction of Kiyomizu-dera is its main hall, constructed upon a massive wooden terrace in which not a single nail has been used. With its name literally meaning “temple of the pure water,” Kiyomizu-dera boasts a water source where pilgrims can purify their body and mind. The usual route to Kiyomizu involves approaching the temple from its main gate, passing by streets lined with shops.
Kiyomizu-dera is, I hate to write it, 100% tourism Kyoto. There is literally no time, except for the brief Covid state of emergencies in 2020–21, when Kiyomizu is empty. Yet, visiting is worth, especially around 6–8AM in the morning, before the crowds arrive. After reaching the temple stairs, to the left, a garden (open several weeks in spring/autumn, no photo), a walk through the pitch-black dark, and a picturesque view of Kyōto city await. Be sure to walk to the back area, with a nice view towards the main hall, as well.

Admission: open year-round from 6AM
Nearby places of interest: Kōdai-ji, Preserved old town.

Sunset at Kyōto's most famous temple. April 2021.

Sunset at Kyōto's most famous temple. April 2021.

Spring 春
Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
Winter 冬