Kiyomizu-dera Temple (Kiyomizu stage,location,history)

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kiyomizu stage

The information about Kiyomizu-dera Temple is presented here. Kiyomizu-dera Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1994 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities)”. Kiyomizu-dera Temple enshrines the eleven faces and forty-two arms of Kannon (the thousand-armed Kannon) as its main deity, and is the 16th temple of the Saigoku Sanjusan-sho. The Kannon is a secret statue that is opened only once every 33 years, and its photograph has not been made public.

【Kiyomizu-dera Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Gojozaka bus stop (about 10 minutes on foot), Kiyomizu-michi bus stop (about 10 minutes on foot), Keihan Kiyomizu Gojo Station (about 25 minutes on foot)

Kiyomizu-Dera Temple is located in the east-northeast from Kyoto Station and is about 2.7 kilometers away in a straight line. The closest station to Kiyomizu-Dera is Kiyomizu Gojo Station on the Keihan Main Line, but it is still some distance away. Also, the Keihan Main Line does not serve Kyoto Station. It may be difficult to reach by train except for users of the Keihan Main Line.
If you go to Kiyomizu-Dera Temple from Kyoto Station, take a city bus and get off at Gojozaka bus stop or Kiyomizu-michi.

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 6:00-18:00 (Closing time differs according to the season) Special night viewing is held during the cherry blossom season, the autumn leaves season, and the Sennichimairi in August.
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 400 yen, Junior High and Elementary School Students 200 yen

【Kiyomizu-dera Temple History】

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (清水寺) is said to have been founded in 778 during the late Nara period (710-794) by Enchin (延鎮, Kenshin, 賢心), a monk of Kofuku-ji Temple in Nara who had been trained at Kishima-dera Temple. Enchin received a message in a spiritual dream and went from Nara to Kyoto, where he found a waterfall on Mt. Otowa-yama. Enchin met Gyoei (行叡居士), who had built a thatched hut on the bank of the waterfall and was training at the waterfall. Enchin received a sacred tree from Gyoei, carved a statue of Kannon, and enshrined it in Gyoei’s thatched hut. In 780, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (坂上田村麻呂) visited Mt. Otowa-yama on a deer hunting and met Enchin at Otowa no Taki waterfall. Sakanoue no Tamuramaro met the wise and holy Enchin and offered to help him build a temple. Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, together with his wife Miyoshi Takako (三善高子), built a temple with Kannon as the main deity, and named it “Kiyomizu-dera” after the crystal clear Otowa no Taki waterfall. In 797, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro was appointed Seii-Taishogun and prayed for the pacification of Emishi at Kiyomizu Temple, while Enchin Kenshin carved Bishamonten and Jizo Bosatsu to pray for his military fortune. It is said that Sakanoue no Tamuramaro won the battle and in 798 remodeled Hondo on a large scale, enshrining Bishamonten and Jizo Bosatsu as supporting statues. It is said that in 805, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro received the temple grounds from the Imperial Court, and in 810, it was officially recognized as a temple by the 52nd Emperor Saga-tenno, who gave it the temple name “Kita Kannon-ji”. In 1091, according to “Narimichi-kyo Kuden Nikki (Diary of Fujiwara no Narimichi),” Fujiwara no Narimichi is said to have played kemari on the parapet of Kiyomizu-no-Butai (Kiyomizu stage) while making a round trip. This is the first time Kiyomizu-no-Butai (Kiyomizu stage) appears in history. Around the the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), Kiyomizu-dera Temple was well known as a sacred site for the Kannon , and there is a poem written by Murasaki Shikibu, the author of “Genji-monogatari (The Tale of Genji)” and Ise-no-Tayu, who visited the temple at the same time. In the middle of the Muromachi period (1336-1573), Onin War (Onin-no-Ran) broke out, and much of the temple complex, including Hondo, was destroyed by fire in 1469. Later, Gana received approval from the 103rd Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado to rebuild the temple, and Hondo and other temple buildings were rebuild. In 1629, Hondo and most of the temple buildings were destroyed by a large fire. However, Nio-mon, Uma-todoe, and Sho-ro were spared from the fire. Kiyomizu-dera Temple has suffered more than 10 fires since its founding, and most of the current temple was rebuilt around 1633. Kiyomizu stage (Kiyomizu-no-butai) extends out in front of Hondo (Main Hall) that houses the eleven faces and forty-two arms of Kannon, and is the place where performing arts are dedicated to Kannon. The Kannon is said to have been reconstructed around 1220. The thousand-armed Kannon has 42 hands, and except for the two hands that join in front of the chest, 40 hands are said to save 25 worlds from the heavenly realm to hell. It is called The thousand-armed Kannon because 40 times 25 is 1,000.
*reference・・・Kiyomizu-dera Temple website

【Kiyomizu-dera Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Hondo (Main Hall, 本堂, National Treasure) was rebuilt in 1633 with the donation from Tokugawa Iemitsu, the 3rd shogun of the Edo shogunate. Hondo, which built on the steep cliff of Mt. Otowa, is about 18 meters high, about 36 meters in front and 30 meters on the sides. Kiyomizu stage in front of Hondo is about 13 meters high, with a front face of about 18 meters, sides of about 10 meters, and an area of about 190 square meters. Hondo houses the statues of eleven faces and forty-two arms of Kannon (the thousand-armed Kannon), Jizo Bosatsu, Bishamonten, Nijuhachibusyu, Fujin, and Raijin. The phrase “Jumping off Kiyomizu stage” comes from the Kannon belief that if you pray to Kannon and fly, your life will be saved and your wishes will come true.
★Otowa no Taki waterfall (Otowa Waterfall, 音羽の滝) springs from Mt. Otowa-yama and is said to have never dried up. It is said that Otowa no Taki has benefits such as wish fulfillment. Otowa no Taki selects one of three streams and takes only one sip.
★Sanju-no-to (three-story pagoda, 三重塔, Important Cultural Property) was rebuilt in 1632. Sanju-no-to houses the statue of Dainichi Nyorai, and its interior represents the esoteric world of the mandala. Sanju-no-to is about 31 meters high and is the symbol of Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple Highlights

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Seiryu-e (青龍会) is held every year on March 15th, April 3rd, and September 15th. At Seiryu-e, conch shells are blown, and Tenposyu, Ebugyo, Yashajin, Shitenno, Jurokuzenshin, and Ryusyu parade.
★Sennichi-mairi (千日詣り) is held every year from August 9th to 16th. Yoi-mairi (宵詣り) is held from the 14th to the 16th, and you can visit at night. It is said that one day’s visit will bring you 1,000 days’ worth of blessings.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is around early April. About 1,500 cherry trees are distributed in the temple grounds. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is illuminated every year around the time of the cherry blossoms, and a special night viewing is held. (night illumination, 桜ライトアップ)
清水寺桜ライトアップ (Kiyomizu-dera Temple night illumination)
★The best time to see autumn leaves (紅葉) is from mid-November to late November. Maple trees and other plants are distributed in the temple grounds. Kiyomizu-dera Temple is illuminated every year around the time of autumn leaves, and a special night viewing is held. (night illumination, 紅葉ライトアップ)
清水寺紅葉ライトアップ (Kiyomizu-dera Temple night illumination)
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-75-551-1234

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Kiyomizu-dera Temple is via Sannen-zaka, Ninen-zaka, and Nene-no-komichi to Yasaka Shrine. Around the route, there are 46-meter-high Yasaka-no-to (Hokan-ji Temple), Kodai-ji Temple, and Ishibe Koji, where you can feel the atmosphere of Kyoto.

【Remarks (access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Kiyomizu-dera Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 錦市場(Nishiki Market)
  2. 竹林の道(Bamboo Forest Path)
  3. 嵐山