This is another UNESCO World Heritage listed site in Japan – Kiyomizu-dera (音羽山清水寺, Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera, literally means “Pure Water Temple”), one of the oldest Buddhist temple in Kyoto. This famous temple received World Cultural Heritage Listing by UNESCO in December 1994. Kiyomizudera (The Clear Water Temple) is the main temple of the Hosso sect of Buddhism and has been destroyed and rebuilt many times in its twelve centuries of history. The Shinto Jishu Shrine is located here also. Kiyomizudera is said to have been constructed from 778 by Enchin, a buddhist priest, in honor of the Kannon Bosatsu (Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion). A bodhisattva is one who can achieve enlightenment but decides to remain on earth to assist others in achieving nirvana.
If you are not escorted with any Japanese tourist guide, to get to the temple, you first make your way up Ninnen-zaka & Sannen-zaka walk, past the Omiyage shops until you reach the main gate of Kiyomizudera. The first thing you will see on the left is the old horse stables used by those going to offer their prayers to Kannon. Walking from there into the temple you will walk under the Nio-mon or Gate of the Deva Kings. The Deva Kings, along with Korean lion-dogs (koma-inu) protect the temple from any evil that may enter. The right Deva King has his mouth open, pronouncing “A”, the first sound of Sanskrit while the other has his mouth closed, pronouncing “UN”, the last sound. Thus, it is thought that the Deva Kings represent the complete teachings of Buddha.
The flamingly beautiful autumn leaves at Kiyomizudera.
Admission Times / Hours Open: 6:00 – 18:00 (some parts close around 4)
Time Needed for Tour: About 40 minutes (at least)
Days Closed / Facilities Closed: Open daily
Cost of Admission: Main facilities (Main Hall, Balcony) 300 Yen
Address : 294 1-chome, Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku
Tel : 075-551-1234 Fax : 075-551-1287
How to get to Kiyomizudera?
1: From Kyoto Station:
Take bus 202, 206, or 207 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Gojo-zaka. From there make your way up hill past the shops and once you reach the top you will be in front of the temple.
2: From Okazaki:
Take the Kaisoku (Express) from JR Okazaki Station to JR Mikawa Anjo (10 minutes) or JR Nagoya Station (28 minutes). Change to a west bound Kodama shinkansen. Take bus 202, 206, or 207 and get off at Kiyomizu-michi or Gojo-zaka. From there make your way up hill past the shops and once you reach the top you will be in front of the temple. As of writing, the tickets cost XXXX yen one way and the journey takes about XXXX minutes not including the train change.