Kiyomizu-dera and Toji Illumination - Japan Sakuramatsuri, 2023

Posted on November 27, 2023

This post is the third part of the my travel in Japan from March 23 to April 14, 2023. On this story, I visited Kiyomizu-dera and Toji Temple's Illumination after arriving in Kyoto from Osaka.

This trip happened on March 28, 2023.


Kiyomizu-dera's Three Story Pagoda
The main hall of Kiyomizu-dera

I arrived around lunch time in Kyoto after visiting Osaka Castle. The train ride from Osaka station to Kyoto station is around an hour.

I left my backpack in the hotel I'll be staying and then left for Kiyomizu-dera. I did walked for around 20 minutes to reach the famous temple from the hotel. While it was sunny all around, the city streets are tidy, clean and the cherry blossoms are blooming across the river. Very beautiful sight to behold. Late March is the peak of cherry blossoms season.

Once I got near the temple, you'll find the crowd increasing exponentially as I expected. Kyoto is a fascinating, beautiful historic city but it is hotspot for tourism.

Sakura in Kiyomizu-dera
The analog clocks in Kiyomizu-dera surrounded with sakura branches
The famous waterfall fountain of Kiyomizu-dera

Kiyomizu-dera requires an entrance fee of 400 yen. This includes access to the main hall, the Jishu-Jinja shrine, dedicated for the god of matchmaking, and its famous small waterfall, the Otowanotaki.

The temple is famous for its scenic view of its main hall and the city of Kyoto. You can enjoy the sunset from the platform facing West in the mountain side and a beautiful bright illumination of the temple once the sun has set.

You can check more info from the Kyoto's official tourism page:

Walking around the city

Pedestrian crossing near Kiyomizu-dera
Scenic view of the Kyoto city from the river
People resting and walking along the riverside of the Kamo river
The canals in Kyoto are planted with cherry blossoms

After a short visit in Kiyomizu-dera, I started walking back to the center of the city and crossed the river again on a different path along the road to the Kiyomizu-Gojo station of Keihan line. Then I walked back to Kiyamachi street where you can see a street of blooming cherry blossoms. What's interesting is it is not as crowded as the other streets. The most likely reason is its distance from Kyoto's main tourist attractions.

I ate my early dinner near the hotel and rested for a while before restarting my trip.

Toji Temple Illumination

Toji Temple's five story Pagoda
Fujizakura Cherry Blossom Tree
Toji Hyotan-ike
Under the Cherry Blossoms in Toji Temple

I went to Toji temple as recommended by the hotel owner to me. I went at around 6:30pm.

I searched the maps and it was far from the center because I had to walk and cross the Kyoto station and then walk towards west for about at least 20-30 minutes. After walking around the Osaka castle in the morning and the afternoon walk to and from Kiyomizu-dera, my legs and feet wants to give up in the middle. I remember I wished I took a bus.

But once I got to the street going to the temple, I feel a bit relax because the temple is not yet closed. I don't usually stay at night but I think the photos I took are great but it could be more amazing if I got a tripod and a wide angle lens.

Toji tmeple was founded in 796 during the Heian period. Inside the Toji's Kondo hall is the wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha. Inside the halls, taking photos are not allowed.