Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto

We lined up at the bus stop for a day pass with half of Japan but of course everything was orderly and it did not take long for us to be on the bus headed to Kiyomizu Temple. Kiyomizu Temple or Pure Water Temple is in the Higashiyama area of Kyoto, one of the main areas for cultural sights in Kyoto. Kiyomizu, east (higashi) of Kyoto station sits on a the mountain (yama) with sensational views over the city, especially from the main temple with its 13 metre high stage. This is one of my favourite temples in all of Japan and when I lived in Kobe I used to take all my visiting Australian friends here, it is always spectacular although autumn and spring are my favourites.

Leading up to Kiyomizu Temple is a steep winding lane called Chawan Zaka – Teapot Lane and here you can buy traditional Japanese handicrafts, snacks and souvenirs. Most items are quite reasonable and good quality. We started our snacking and shopping here, keen to experience the local cuisine and shop till we dropped. Although it was our 1st day of sightseeing, Kyoto really is the best place to buy traditional Japanese handicrafts – think bags made from gorgeous Japanese fabrics, Kiyomizu yaki pottery, Kokeshi dolls, tea sets, kimonos and textiles. I regretted not buying more here as nowhere else we travelled really had the range.

As we wandered up the hill and grazed on Japanese treats we stopped to take photos of all the gorgeous women, men, children and matching couples dressed in their gorgeous kimonos, for Cherry Blossom viewing. I became very good at asking “Can we take your photo” in Japanese.

At the gates to Kiyomizu Temple, there was a special tea ceremony event taking place in the gardens adjoining and we were invited to sit and enjoy matcha (powdered green tea) and cake (free of charge) amongst the Cherry Blossoms. It was the start of things to come for this day.

PS

Day Pass in Japanese is ichinich joushaken kado

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