One of the most celebrated temples in Japan and a popular spot with tourists of all nationalities is Kiyomizudera Temple perched high on the hill side overlooking the city! The temple is one of many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan and is surrounded by beautiful gardens and narrow residential streets.
The temple was built in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall and it’s name means “Pure Water Temple”. Visitors can drink from 3 streams that flow from the falls said to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy!
Although the temple, it’s location and grounds are stunning for me the chaos of hundreds of tourists pushing and shoving detracts from the tranquility, beauty and peacefulness that a place like Kiyomizudera should have!
I know as a tourist I’m part of the problem but I always try to be respectful of the true purpose unlike a lot of tourists who treat it like an amusement park rushing from attraction-to-attraction.
Some of my favourite places in Kyoto and Japan have been gardens, temples and shrines not in Lonely Planet or guidebooks that are places of quiet, respectful worship rather than tourist attractions aimed at selling you souvenirs!
Despite the chaos at times I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to see so many wonderful temples and shrines during our stay in Kyoto and the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest is a truly unique experience!
Kyoto is an amazing city and I loved every minute!