The Kiyomizu-dera, or Kiyomizu Temple, is one of Japan’s greatest treasures. The 14,000- square-foot temple, situated dramatically on a cliff overlooking Kyoto, was initially constructed in the 8th century. The temple was rebuilt during Japan’s Tokugawa dynasty in the 1600s, and has served ever since as a place of worship for Japanese Buddhists.
The temple is a major tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but despite the crowds, there is something undeniably spiritual about its swooping pagodas and stone pillars, surrounded by swathes of natural greenery. Kiyomizu—which means “pure water” – takes its name from the waterfall in the center of the temple complex, whose water is believed to have the power to grant wishes.