Kiyomizu-dera "Pure Water Temple" complex, with a spectacular location overlooking the Kyoto city, is a deservedly popular attraction, can be approached by either of two tourist-filled souvenir-shop-lined streets; Kiyomizu-zaka or Chawan-zaka.
On both sides of these narrow streets you'll find restaurants as well as shops selling pottery, local delicacies and clothes among other things.
Many locals are dressed in Kimonos but occasionally you’ll see some high school teenagers who seem like jumped straight out from Japanese drama.
Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple. The main hall has a large veranda, supported by tall pillars, that juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city.
The complex also offers various talismans, incense, and Omikuji "Fortunes Paper".
The site is particularly popular during festivals especially at New Year's and during Obon in the summer, when additional booths fill the grounds selling traditional holiday foodstuffs and souvenirs to throngs of visitors.
Beneath the main hall is the Otowa Waterfall, where three streams of water fall into a pond. Visitors can catch and drink the water by holding out little tin cups.
Each stream's water is believed to have different wish-granting power, namely Longevity, Wisdom and a Fortunate Love Life. However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy.
The temple complex includes several other shrines, among them the Jishu Shrine, dedicated to Okuninushi, a God of Love and Good Matches.
In front of the shrine are two stones, placed 18 meters apart. You’ll see students trying to walk from one stone pillar to another with their eyes closed.
Success in reaching the other stone is said to ensure a lucky love life. You can be assisted in the crossing, but this is taken to mean that you'll need someone's assistance to find your true love.
If you're up for a Mountain Walk, steer to the right-hand pathway instead of taking the left toward the Jishu Shrine. The path leads through a gate and winds up onto the mountain.
You can walk up for a good hour and not reach the end of the path. It has lovely forest and great scenery, and makes for a nice short excursion out of the city traffic. The temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1994.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple Access
Kiyomizu-dera Temple - Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto Prefecture