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What to Do in the Kiyomizu Area

The Kiyomizu area is dominated by the temple itself but there is still plenty to do in the Higashiyama district surrounding the temple. Kyoto is known for its temples and three of its largest and most famous surround the district. Put on some walking shoes and have a spiritual day with Kyoto’s most well known landmarks.

  • Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera

    Kiyomizu-dera

    The Kiyomizu-dera is the highlight of the area, if not all of Kyoto. The massive structure makes it one of the largest temples in all of Kyoto. It can be easy to spend the whole day here as the temple grounds exceed 130,000 square meters. The main hall is the star attraction, it provides a scenic view of both the temple grounds and all of Kyoto city. Kiyomizu-dera is a bit of a hike from the city center. The end of the Higashiyama district has a narrow path leading to the temple filled with souvenir shops and small eateries. The Koyasu Pagoda in the background provides the perfect photo op for yukata wearing visitors.

  • Yasaka Jinja

    Yasaka Jinja

    Yasaka Jinja

    Yasaka Jinja, founded in 656, is the perfect shrine to visit when walking to Kiyomizu-dera from the Gion district. The shrine has no closing hours and is especially scenic at night when all the lanterns are lit up and there are no crowds blocking the view. Yasaka Jinja is also the host of the annual Gion matsuri, the largest summer festival in Kyoto. The shrine is only a 20-30 minute walk to and from Kiyomizu-dera and many visitors tend to visit the temple and shrine in the same day.

  • Maruyama Park

    Maruyama Park

    Maruyama Park

    Next to Yasaka Jinja is Maruyama Park, the most popular park for cherry blossom viewing in the city. The park is best known for its weeping cherry blossom tree which also gets lit up at night. The park is huge, over 86,000 square meters, and can be easily accessed between the main temples in the Higashiyama district.

    Maruyama Park

    Maruyama Park

  • Chion-in and the Sanmon Gate

    Chion-in and the Sanmon Gate

    Chion-in and the Sanmon Gate

    Near the Yasaka-jinja and accessed through Maruyama Park is Chion-in and its famous Sanmon gate. Built in 1234, the temple was made in honor of Honen and his Jodo-shu sect of Buddhism. Chion-in was where he preached his teachings and lived his life. The free temple grounds are vast and houses a museum filled with Japanese Buddhist artwork. The gardens are also well worth a look and have been designated as a Famous Scenic Spot by Kyoto city. The early Edo period style garden has flowers surrounding a lake, providing a tranquil break from the busy temple grounds. The garden is especially stunning with the spring cherry blossoms or autumn fall foliage. The Sanmon gate is the gargantuan feature of Chion-in. Standing at 24 meters high, it is the largest wooden gate in Japan. The temple grounds are open from 9AM-4:30PM and are free. The inner gardens and museum have a 300yen admission fee.

  • Nanzenji

    Nanzenji

    Nanzenji

    Built in 1291, Nanzenji is another temple with a large landscape and massive Sanmon gate. Nanzenji represents the Rinzai sect of Buddhism. The highlight of Nanzenji is the Hojo gardens, especially in autumn. The Hojo gardens are comprised of gravel and raked to appeal the tranquil mind. Unique to Nanzenji is a large aqueduct on the grounds. This western feat of design might look out of place but was originally used to transport water between Lake Biwa and Kyoto. Nanzenji is open from 8:40AM -5PM and is closed from December 28 December 31. Each temple requires varying admission prices ranging from 300 yen -500 yen.

    Kiyomizu-dera Temple
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Kiyomizu 1-294
    Phone
    0755511234
    Yasaka-jinja Shrine (Gion Shrine)
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Gionmachikitagawa 625
    Phone
    0755616155
    Maruyama Park
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Higashiyama-ku Maruyamachou
    Phone
    0755611350
    Nanzen-ji Zen Temple
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Sakyou-ku Nanzenjifukuchichou
    Phone
    0757710365
  • Kyoto
    Address
    Kyoto Kyoutoshi Shimogyou-ku Higashishiokoujikamadonochou
    Phone
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