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“The icon of Kyoto” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple
1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0862, Kyoto Prefecture (Gion Higashiyama / Kita Shirakawa / Kurama / Yase / Ohara)
+81 75-551-1234
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Top Rated
$112*
and up
Kyoto Full-Day Sightseeing Tour including Nijo...
Ranked #6 of 541 things to do in Kyoto
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Owner description: This most-visited temple in Kyoto was built to honor Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It's beautiful hillside location offers spectacular views of the city and valley below.
Milan, Italy
Top Contributor
124 reviews 124 reviews
58 attraction reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
73 helpful votes 73 helpful votes
“The icon of Kyoto”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

Even if the most crowded among the temples I've seen, I think it cannot be skypped in any case: first of all as it is one of the city's symbles, wordly reknown, and then as it has an incredible view on the city and the valley!

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Christchurch, New Zealand
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Too crowded in this sakura season”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

Very busy season to visit this temple. Some common areas were under renovation. The temple looks majestic. I enjoyed walking the slope from bus stop to the temple. So many shops to scout for interesting souvenirs and free sampling of Kyoto soft cakes.

Visited April 2014
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Seoul, South Korea
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Beautifully illuminated at night during cherry blossom season”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

Kiyomizu-dera temple was probably our favorite site in Kyoto, and we almost didn't go! We were there on the last weekend in March (peak cherry blossom season) and decided to go late in the afternoon. The approach to the temple (up a long, steep, winding road) is lined with fascinating little shops that sell both food and souvenirs. When we were almost to the temple, we saw an enormous queue of people waiting to get in. It turned out that the temple was closed from 5.30-6.30 and people were waiting in line to be let in at 6.30 when people would be allowed into the illuminated temple grounds. We had already seen a number of temples and shrines that day, and almost turned back, but decided to wait - which was a good idea, since they started letting people in at about 6.00 - so it was not a long wait. The temple itself is built up on a mountainside with a lovely view back down the hill and over the city. It is also beautifully landscaped, and, as the sun sets and the lights come on through the cherry blossoms, it is absolutely breathtaking. I am sure it's lovely any time of year, but if you can come during the spring or autumn when the grounds are illuminated, it is especially lovely. There is some construction, which was disappointing, but overall, it was probably the most lovely temple and grounds we saw during our visit. The trip back down through the lamplit streets was also very charming and romantic. There is a gift shop near the main temple which has some interesting art as well as CDs and DVDs, and there is also a restaurant right within the temple complex if you get hungry. There was a bit of a crush up on the hill with everyone jockeying for a good spot to take photos, but that was part and parcel of the experience. We loved the fact that so many young people (men and women) wear traditional dress to the temples - it added a real charm to the whole experience!

Visited March 2014
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Manila, Philippines
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
31 attraction reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Must visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 21, 2014

One of the must-see temples in Kyoto, beautiful buildings and scenery with abundant cherry blossoms in spring. However, be prepared to talk a long walk up winding roads from the bus stop, unless you take a taxi.

Visited April 2014
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Richmond, Virginia
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
28 attraction reviews
Reviews in 36 cities Reviews in 36 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Gorgeous mountain side temple”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2014

Kiyomizu-dera is a beautiful temple offering excellent views out to the downtown Kyoto area. The walk up to the temple from the bus stop offers a wide variety of cafes, snack shops, and tourist grabs (all of which are worth a look). Might as well go up hungry and enjoy the food on the way up (or at least the snacks).

As as been mentioned, it is very, very crowded here (perhaps the most crowded place I have been in Kyoto).

Con: This temple (and many in Kyoto) is amazingly touristy and crowded. There are upsides to this though. Often, Japanese school children will be waiting to interview foreigners to complete assignments for their English classes. They will typically ask you a series of informational questions and often give you a small token of appreciation (I have received green tea and a Hello Kitty pen). I find these interactions to be a highlight of my trip and enjoy them immensely (though perhaps others would be put off at this).

Visited August 2013
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