Kyoto’s Iconic Kiyomizu-Dera Temple

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is a massive temple that sits on top of a hill overlooking Kyoto founded in 778.  It was a nominee for the world’s 7 wonders.

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The imposing temple takes its name from the nearby waterfall — Kiyomizu — which means pure water.  It’s a proper name for a tranquil temple looking down on all of Kyoto.  The temple was included in the running of the new 7 wonders of the world, but it did not make the final cut.  However, it’s still marvelous and millions of people visit Kiyomizu-Dera temple every year. Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is one of the many sites in Kyoto to visit.  It’ll probably take a person a whole to visit all the important landmarks in Kyoto and to really take in everything the city has to offer.

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Kyoto
The pagoda and sutra hall

With so many sites in Kyoto, I decided to visit as many as possible during my day trip from Tokyo, which included Fushimi Inari Taisha, Daigo-Ji, Sagano Bamboo Forest, Tofuku-ji Temple, Maruyama Park, Ninen-zaka, Ryozen Kannon, and Kinkaku-ji Temple.  It was a non-stop affair as soon as I got off the Shinkansen.  The roughly 8-9 hours of agenda included a two hour lunch at one of the most well-known Kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto – Kichisen.

As I walked from Maruyama Park to Kiyomizu-Dera temple, I was able to experience ancient Kyoto on the incline slope of Ninen-zaka because the stone paths and old Japanese architecture were still there.  The uneven stones of Higashiyama gave way to the beautiful sights of old Kyoto as the many tourists and I stopped at every chance for a photograph.  I still can feel the sun on my face and the sounds of the city.

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Kyoto
The ni?mon

The path leads to the Sannen-Zaka slope.  The slope is series of cobble steps that connects to Monzakai.  It’s the last turn I took until the gates of Kiyomizu-dera temple were before my eyes.  The steep climb was filled with seas of locals, tourists and Japanese shops selling souvenirs.  It became a challenge to maneuver through the crowd and I had to step in front of people and walk past others to reach Nimon.

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple Kyoto
The pagoda

At Niomon, I decided to turn back and vast in the view. It’s a picturesque view to see Monzakai in front of me then Kyoto in the far background while the mountains of people come and leave the temple.  The feeling of the temple is dreamlike especially when women and kids passed me wearing kimonos and the bright red mixed with white on the structures.   I sat on the steps of the West Gate, took a breathe and counted my blessings until I continued to the Pagoda and Sutra Hall.  It’s the perfect memory as I head back to Shinjuku station that night.  I still count my blessings til this day when I think of Kiyomizu-Dera Temple and Kyoto.