Taiken Japan

Autumn Leaves 2016

Find True Love at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto

Photo: Nickolay Khazanov on Flickr

Find True Love at Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto

John Asano

Kiyomizu-dera is one of the most famous temples in Kyoto, and my personal favourite. Located in the Higashiyama district of the historic city of Kyoto, the temple offers everything you want in a Kyoto experience with impressive temple architecture, quaint shops selling local handicrafts, spectacular views, sacred water and the possibility of finding true love.

The ancient temple was first built in 778 with the current buildings a 1633 reconstruction. The impressive main hall of the temple is designated as a national treasure, and was built without the use of a single nail in its construction. It has withstood the test of time and the famous wooden balcony offers fantastic views of the nearby hills and city of Kyoto.


Photo : Guilhem Vellut on Flickr
Photo : Cheddarcheez on Flickr
Kiyomizu-dera has a lot of interesting places to explore and is a popular spot for couples looking to confirm their true love.

Jishu Shrine located above the main hall of Kiyomizu-dera, is a shrine dedicated to Okuninushi, a god of love and matchmaking. In front of the shrine you will find two love stones, which are 18 meters apart, and lots of couples looking to confirm their love. Legend says that if you can find your way from one stone to the other with your eyes closed (no cheating) you will find true love. If you unfortunately miss the stone then your desire for love will not be fulfilled. If you find the task too challenging, don’t despair, you can have help with someone guiding you to be successful in finding the stone. If you need help to find the stone, this means that you will find love, but a go-between will also be needed for you to find this love as well.


Photo : Yvon Liu on Flickr
Photo : Roger Walch on Flickr
The shrine regarded as the ‘Cupid of Japan’ is usually very crowded with couples and young girls praying for luck in love that it can be difficult to get from one stone to the other without bumping into someone. If you want to actually try it yourself, I recommend getting there first thing in the morning to beat the crowds.

The shrine is not only for the lonely hearts, there are various gods housed within the shrine compound that you can worship for different love wishes. You can pray for new love, a long lasting relationship, or even to thwart the efforts of a love rival.


Photo : hkpuipui99 on Flickr
If that is not enough, you can also purchase a lucky charm to bring home with you. Of course, there are charms to help with success in love or marriage, but also for good health, academic success and longevity.

On your way out of the temple, check out the notice board of names in front of the shrine. The names belong to happy couples that have returned to the shrine to show their gratitude after getting married. Apparently the shrine and all the love making that goes with it actually works.


Photo : Magalie L'Abbé on Flickr
Kiyomizu-dera is one of the most celebrated temples in all of Japan and a must see destination in Kyoto. The best time to visit is either during the cherry blossom season in spring, or the changing leaves of autumn. I hope the temple and Jishu Shrine help you find true love.


Photo : Andrew on Flickr


Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto
Hours: Open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
Closed: No Closing Days
Admission: Free for the temple and grounds (300 yen to enter main hall)
Website: http://www.kiyomizudera.or.jp/lang/01.html


You can reach Kiyomizu-dera from Kyoto Station by taking Raku Bus No 100 or bus No 206 to Kiyomizu-michi bus stop, followed by a short walk of around 10 minutes.