Katie Kinsley


Kiyomizu-dera: Unveiling the Sacred Beauty of Kyoto

Nestled in the scenic hills of eastern Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera Temple stands as a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage and spiritual devotion.

With its breathtaking wooden terrace, stunning views of the city, and serene atmosphere, Kiyomizu-dera offers visitors a profound experience of traditional Japanese architecture, natural beauty, and religious significance. In this blog post, we will embark on a journey to explore the captivating history, architectural wonders, and spiritual essence of Kiyomizu-dera Temple.

Japan Kiyomizo Temple

A Rich History:
Kiyomizu-dera, meaning “Pure Water Temple,” has a history dating back over 1,200 years. Founded in the 8th century, the temple has witnessed the rise and fall of dynasties, wars, and social transformations throughout Japan’s history. Visitors can immerse themselves in the stories and legends associated with the temple, from its origins as a small hermitage to its growth into one of Kyoto’s most iconic landmarks.

Kiyomizo Temple

Architectural Marvels:
The main attraction of Kiyomizu-dera Temple is its famous wooden terrace, a marvel of Japanese architecture. The massive veranda extends from the main hall, supported by a network of wooden pillars, giving visitors the sensation of standing on the edge of a cliff. Without the use of a single nail, the terrace showcases the ingenuity and craftsmanship of the temple’s builders. The stunning views of the surrounding maple and cherry trees, especially during the autumn foliage and cherry blossom seasons, create a mesmerizing backdrop for visitors.

Kiyomizo Temple

Otawa Waterfall and the Three Streams of Wisdom:
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is famous for its Otawa Waterfall, located within its premises. Visitors can drink from the streams of the waterfall, which are believed to grant specific blessings—longevity, success in studies, and love. The ritual of drinking from one of the three streams is considered an act of purification and an opportunity to seek spiritual guidance. It’s a unique and immersive experience that allows visitors to connect with the temple’s spiritual traditions.

Kiyomizo Temple

Jishu Shrine and the Love Stones:
Adjacent to Kiyomizu-dera Temple is Jishu Shrine, dedicated to Okuninushi, the Shinto god of love and matchmaking. Visitors can explore the shrine’s picturesque grounds and discover the “Love Stones.” Two large stones are placed several meters apart, and it is believed that those who successfully walk from one stone to the other with their eyes closed will find true love. The shrine’s serene atmosphere and enchanting love-related rituals make it a popular spot for those seeking love and romantic connections.

Japan Kiyomizo Temple

Surrounding Natural Beauty:
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is situated amidst the verdant hills of Higashiyama, providing a serene and picturesque setting. Beyond the temple grounds, visitors can explore the surrounding area, which is home to charming traditional shops, tea houses, and narrow cobblestone streets. Walking through these historic streets, such as Sannenzaka and Ninenzaka, allows visitors to experience the essence of old Kyoto, with its preserved architecture and quaint shops selling traditional crafts and souvenirsConclusion:
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a treasure trove of Japanese history, spirituality, and architectural splendor. Its wooden terrace, breathtaking views, and serene atmosphere create a profound sense of awe and tranquility. As you wander through its sacred grounds, drinking from the Otawa Waterfall and exploring the nearby Jishu Shrine, you’ll find yourself immersed in the ancient rituals and traditions that have been passed down through generations.

The temple’s embrace of the changing seasons and its vibrant cultural festivals add a touch of enchantment to the experience. Whether you visit during the cherry blossom season, when the temple is adorned in delicate pink petals, or in autumn, when the foliage paints a vivid tapestry of colors, Kiyomizu-dera will captivate your senses and leave you with memories to cherish.

Surrounded by the natural beauty of Higashiyama, Kiyomizu-dera Temple offers a gateway to the charm and allure of old Kyoto. Exploring the nearby streets, sampling traditional treats, and discovering unique crafts from local artisans will deepen your appreciation for the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Have you visited Kiyomizu-dera?

In the midst of a bustling world, Kiyomizu-dera Temple stands as a sanctuary of serenity, inviting visitors to reflect, find inner peace, and connect with the spiritual traditions of Japan. It is a place where the past meets the present, where history and spirituality intertwine, and where the beauty of nature and human craftsmanship come together in perfect harmony.

A visit to Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a journey of discovery, enlightenment, and a profound appreciation for the cultural treasures that Kyoto has to offer.


In 2009 I traveled did a study abroad immersion trip to South Korea. You can find all the South Korea journal entries here.

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple


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Katie Kinsley

Hailing from the great state of Wisconsin, Katie Kinsley is a content creating, email marketing, overambitious plant-lover (read: killer). She's obsessed with planning detailed vacations and finding and building an affordable wardrobe. She's an individualist at heart discovering self-growth, a parent to a dog and a cat and in love with productivity hacks.
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Hello I’m Katie!

Katie Kinsley is a Texas-based digital marketer and aspiring influencer. This is a lifestyle blog focused on Katie’s work-in-progress life. She’s focused on creating joy in the everyday, sharing adventures throughout Dallas/Ft. Worth (and the world), and empowering women to find their confidence — all in her unique unfiltered style.
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