Chasing the sunset at Kiyomizu-dera

After the long trek along Kiyomizu-zaka (where R kept telling me to hurry or else we’d miss the sunset), we finally reached Kiyomizu-dera. One of the reasons why R wanted to go to Kiyomizu-dera was because it was a World Cultural Heritage Site. I must admit that was about the only thing I know about the place, aside from thinking it had something to do with water because of the mizu in its name (which means ‘water’ in Japanese). Still, I was pretty excited to visit my first-ever temple in Japan.

07_kiyomizu1_01It was about a couple of hours before closing time when we arrived, and there were a lot of people.

07_kiyomizu1_02And there were a lot of students (most likely on a field trip), too. Randomly, I think I’ve seen all kinds of skirt lengths while I was in Japan, haha. It was relieving to know that not ALL school skirts are as short as most anime portray them to be!


07_kiyomizu1_04This might possibly be a stupid question, but I wonder if this bell is actually rung, and if it is, for what purpose? Like is it rung at a certain hour, or…? Really curious.


07_kiyomizu1_06Caught the sunset! ♥ Though R was like, “Nooooo it’s too hazy!”


07_kiyomizu1_08These are ema, wooden plaques where people can write their wishes for success – in life in general, or for a particular desire. These don’t come for free, of course. They’re sold in several areas inside the temple complex. Another stupid thought, but I wonder what are done with these ema after a period of time. Are they all kept in some part of the temple? Surely thousands (or even millions) of ema have already been sold, written on and tied here.

07_kiyomizu1_09I wish I knew what this was. I thought the wooden plaques here had names written on them. Judging from the statue, maybe a place to remember babies? Someone educate me OTL

07_kiyomizu1_10These are omikuji, fortunes or blessings written on paper. Apparently, you can either bring your omikuji home or tie them here.


07_kiyomizu1_12There are several shops along Kiyomizu-zaka where you can rent kimonos such as these. R and I decided we’d rent them maybe the next time we go to Japan, haha. We don’t think it’s easy to put on a kimono, and at the time, as I’ve said, we wanted to catch the sunset. Figuring out how to wear a kimono would have definitely wasted our time. [ETA: R tells me now, “We didn’t rent kimonos because they were expensive!” Hahaha, point taken. I can’t recall exactly but they were around 3000-5000 yen.)

07_kiyomizu1_13“AHHHH RED LEAVES! TAKE A PICTURE, TAKE A PICTURE!” is basically our reaction whenever we saw red-leaved trees, hahaha.

07_kiyomizu1_14This purification fountain is found just before the entrance to the main hall. Here is a guide on how to properly rinse your hands and mouth before entering the temple. R and I skipped this part, though, because there were too many people and the sun was rapidly sinking along the horizon.

07_kiyomizu1_15There was a high school teacher who was explaining what these were to her students, but unfortunately I’m not that good (yet!) with Japanese to completely understand what she said, haha. They look a bit familiar, though. Maybe in some anime series? I wonder what the slippers are for, too!


07_kiyomizu1_17This was my omikuji. According to my friend Tammy, I got a ‘big fortune’. Woohoo!

07_kiyomizu1_18If I remember correctly, I paid around 100-200 yen for my omikuji. And since I didn’t know I can take it home, I tied it here. Actually, I would have still tied it here even if I’d known just because it looked cool, haha.

07_kiyomizu1_19View of Kyoto Tower from Kiyomizu-dera.

07_kiyomizu1_20And a view of the main hall at twilight.

To get to Kiyomizu-dera, ride the Kyoto City buses number 100, 202, 206 or 207 and get off at the Kiyomizu-michi bus stop. (TIP: You can get a free Kyoto City bus sightseeing map at the Tourist Information Center in the Kyoto Station. I swear those maps saved mine and R’s lives while we were in Kyoto. SUPER useful!) From the bus stop, just follow where everyone else seems to be going. I’m not even kidding, haha. Admission is 300 yen. Visit their official website for more details.

Date visited: November 7, 2012.

Visit my Japan page for more of my misadventures (and information, of course)!


6 thoughts on “Chasing the sunset at Kiyomizu-dera

  1. The bell is rung on New Years. I’m not sure if it is rung at any other time. As far as the name goes, someone told me that if you drink from the waterfall there it is supposed to give you good health. The name of the temple translates as “clear water”.

    When were you in Kyoto? I like your photos and it sounds like you had a good time!

    • Thank you for answering my question about the bell! :D! I didn’t think anyone would, haha. We were in Kyoto last November 7-9. We did have a good time 😀 Even if the leaves weren’t completely red yet, the weather was wonderfully cool/cold. I’m having a look at your blog right now; do you live in Kyoto? ^^

      • It must have been so nice in autumn. I’m living in Kanazawa, about two hours from Kyoto by the Thunderbird train. I want to go back to Kyoto over New Years though. Thanks for taking a look!

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