Kiyomizu-dera Temple – Visiting Tips

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is one of the most iconic landmarks in Kyoto, Japan. This historic temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a unique blend of spiritual tranquility and stunning views.

If you’re planning a visit, here are some tips to make your experience truly memorable.

Tip: Hassle-Free Day Trip from Osaka

We highly recommend the tour above. It covers Kiyomizu-dera Temple and all other intriguing sites in Kyoto! The tour guides are fantastic!

But still, make sure to read our 5 must-know visiting tips below!

When Is the Best Time

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is usually swarmed with tourists. The best time to visit the temple is early in the morning during mid-week. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to move around. To beat the crowds you need to:

  • Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
  • Arrive early, if possible between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M.: It’s a perfect time to enjoy the magic of this temple in solitude. If you can’t make it that early try to be there at least between 7 – 8 A.M when it‘s still relatively quiet compared to later in the day. TIP: Stay at the closest hotel (walking distance) and get there easily first thing in the morning. See our guest house/hotel recommendation below (Where to Stay).
  • You could also arrive late, about 1 hour before it closes. Then you may have the last minutes almost for yourself.

Opening Hours (Entrance Fee 400 Yen)

  • Open year-round from 6:00 .a.m.
  • Closes at 6:00 p.m. (18:00) or 6:30 p.m. (18:30), depending on the season.
  • More details (and night opening hours) here: Kiyomizudera Opening Hours

5 Must-Know Visiting Tips

Here are some tips to make your experience truly memorable.

1. Explore the Nearby Streets of Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka

After visiting the temple, make sure to wander through the nearby preserved streets of Sannenzaka and Ninnenzaka. These charming streets are lined with traditional wooden houses, tea shops, and souvenir stores. It’s like stepping back in time, and you can find unique Kyoto crafts and snacks to take home. Plus, the streets offer another vantage point for capturing beautiful photos of the temple.

2. Wear Proper Footwear

This might sound like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this. The temple complex is quite large and involves some walking, including uphill paths and stairs. So, wear comfortable shoes that offer good support. Trust me, your feet will thank you later.

3. Try the “Love Stones”

Kiyomizu-dera is home to a pair of “love stones” placed about 18 meters apart. The belief is that if you can walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, your love life will be successful. It’s a fun experience, even if you’re not superstitious. Plus, it makes for a great story to tell back home.

4. Don’t Just Stick to the Main Hall

While the main hall is undoubtedly beautiful, don’t forget to explore the lesser-known parts of the temple complex. For instance, the Jishu Shrine dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking is a must-visit. There’s also a waterfall where you can drink for health, longevity, and success in studies.

5. Taste Yuba (Tofu Skin)

When in Kiyomizu-dera, don’t miss out on trying Yuba, which is a local specialty made from tofu skin. You’ll find several shops and restaurants around the temple selling Yuba in various forms. It’s a delicious and unique culinary experience that you won’t find just anywhere.

John says: We visited Kiyomizu-dera last spring and it was an experience of a lifetime. The temple was beautiful, and the view from the terrace was breathtaking. We also tried walking between the love stones and it was so much fun. Highly recommend!

Spring and Fall Illumination

During fall season the temple and the gorgeious autumn colors are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (6 p.m. – 9 p.m.). This happens also in the spring. Illumination periods are:

  • Spring: mid-March until mid-April
  • Autumn: mid-November to early December

It’s crowded during this time but definitely worth it. Tip: If you’d like to dodge the heavy crowds during the illumination do not get there early around or before 6 p.m. Instead arrive between 8:30 p.m and 9 p.m. They don’t close at 9 p.m. It’s usually open until 10 p.m. That means you still have an hour or longer with less crowds.


Nature’s seasonal highlights at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto are cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaf color in autumn. The temple features about 1500 cherry blossoms and 1000 colorful trees with changing leaves.

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossom in Kyomizu by Tasuku Soma, CC BY added content

The temple is one of Kyoto’s top cherry blossom spots, with almost 1500 mountain cherry and somei yoshino trees. The blooming season is very short. It only takes about two weeks from the opening of the first blossoms until they are falling from the trees. On average the first blossoms in Kyoto open end of March. They reach full bloom around April 5.

However, the start of the blooming season can vary by one week (plus/minus) each year. Generally, your best bet is to visit early April, if you’d like to spot them. A great map and table with dates for Kyoto and other cities: JNTO Cherry Blossoms Timetable

Tip: The blossoms are illuminated at night, creating a beautiful romantic scenery. If you don’t mind the crowds, visit during the spring illumination.

Fall Foliage

Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto by Martin Falbisoner, CC BY-SA colored

The leaf-changing colors are almost equally beautiful and Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a truly spectacular autumn color spot. Compared to cherry blossoms, the gorgeous leaf colors last much longer: The foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October until mid-December, with a peak in mid-November.

Your best bet to spot the beautiful fall foliage is between mid-November and late November. However, any time within the two months is usually worth it. Tip: Like for the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall illumination of the autumn foliage creates a beautiful atmosphere.

Compare Hotel Prices & Tours (Bookmark the Links)

Below you can find weekly hotel deals (+ one special hotel tip at the bottom of this article). You’ll love most of them as the deals are hand picked! For more amazing activities besides Kiyomizu-dera Temple check out these tours: Kyoto Tours in Winter, Spring, Fall, Summer! They are not for everyone but we loved them! Especially the walking tour in a small group (Kyoto Walking Tour Adventure) and the UNESCO Historical Sites Tour. They also have the best guides overall! You’ll get inside knowledge of Kyoto that almost nobody else has. And you can take much better photos at times. Book in advance if possible.

Views and Hike

This is truly a visually stunning place and a must-visit if you’re in Kyoto. It’s at the top of a hill and offers magnificent views into Kyoto, the surrounding forest with cherry and maple tress and the mountains. Inside you must drink from the ‘sacred water’ from the waterfall. There is even a nice hike at the top of the hill if you want to beat the crowds and get into the forest.

How to Get There?

To get to Kiyomizu-dera Temple you can take the bus from Kyoto main station (JR Kyoto Station). Bus lines are 100, 206. Everything is well signposted, you don’t need to know Japanese. The best stop to get off the bus is Kiyomizu-michi. From there it’s a 10-15 minute walk to the temple: Google Maps Kiyomizu-michi >> Temple


From March 2017 until March 2020 the main hall was under renovation work, but still accessible. Even during the renovation work, most visitors say the temple is still worth visiting given its fantastic setting and the atmosphere.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Historic Photo


Where to Stay (via with price match)

  • Kotoha Kiyomizu – Guest House In Kyoto| Outstanding location! Only a 12-14 minutes walk to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Highly recommended. This is what almost every visitor says: ‘Great facilities, comfortable beds, wonderful hosts, excellent value for money and location!’
  • More Hotels in Kyoto (Best Selection) | Enter your preferred dates and then check the list of hotels. Make sure to change the search criteria to your liking at the top bar. We usually select ‘Review Score & Price’.

Links and Tips


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