When should you visit a historic site? Historic sites are locations where pieces of political, cultural, or social history have been preserved. Often due to their cultural value. Historic sites can be temples, whole cities, pyramids, castles, churches or any other kind of buildings.
Kiyomizu-dera Temple is usually swarmed with tourists. Sometimes it even becomes difficult to move around. To beat the crowds you need to:
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
- Arrive early, if possible between 6 A.M. and 7 A.M.: It's a perfect time to enjoy the magic of this temple in solitude. If you can't make it that early try to be there at least between 7 - 8 A.M when it‘s still relatively quiet compared to later in the day. TIP: Stay at the closest hotel (walking distance) and get there easily first thing in the morning. See our guest house/hotel recommendation below (Where to Stay).
- You could also arrive late, about 1 hour before it closes. Then you may have the last minutes almost for yourself.
Opening Hours (Entrance Fee 400 Yen)
Open year-round from 6:00 .a.m.
Closes at 6:00 p.m. (18:00) or 6:30 p.m. (18:30), depending on the season. More details (and night opening hours) here: Kiyomizudera Opening Hours
Spring and Fall Illumination
During fall season the temple and the gorgeious autumn colors are illuminated from 18:00 to 21:00 (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.). This happens also in the spring. Illumination periods are:
- Spring: mid-March until mid-April
- Autumn: mid-November to early December
It's crowded during this time but definitely worth it. Tip: If you'd like to dodge the heavy crowds during the illumination do not get there early around or before 6 p.m. Instead arrive between 8:30 p.m and 9 p.m. They don't close at 9 p.m. It's usually open until 10 p.m. That means you still have an hour or longer with less crowds.
Nature's seasonal highlights at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto are cherry blossoms in spring and the changing leaf color in autumn. The temple features about 1500 cherry blossoms and 1000 colorful trees with changing leaves.
The temple is one of Kyoto's top cherry blossom spots, with almost 1500 mountain cherry and somei yoshino trees. The blooming season is very short. It only takes about two weeks from the opening of the first blossoms until they are falling from the trees. On average the first blossoms in Kyoto open end of March. They reach full bloom around April 5. However, the start of the blooming season can vary by one week (plus/minus) each year. Generally, your best bet is to visit early April, if you'd like to spot them. A great map and table with dates for Kyoto and other cities: JNTO Cherry Blossoms Timetable Tip: The blossoms are illuminated at night, creating a beautiful romantic scenery. If you don't mind the crowds, visit during the spring illumination.
The leaf changing colors are almost equally beautiful and Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a truly spectacular autumn color spot. Compared to cherry blossoms, the gorgeous leaf colors last much longer: The foliage season in Kyoto lasts from mid-October until mid-December, with a peak in mid-November. Your best bet to spot the beautiful fall foliage is between mid-November and late November. However, any time within the two months is usually worth it. Tip: Like for the cherry blossoms in spring, the fall illumination of the autumn foliage creates a beautiful atmosphere.
Expect heavy crowds year-round. Open 9 AM - 5 PM each day, year-round.
To avoid the crowds:
- Arrive early. A couple of minutes before the gates open at 9:00 AM.
- You could arrive late around 4 PM and stay till 5 PM. Then you have the last couple of minutes almost for yourself to take great photos.
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week.
Expect big crowds year-round, especially on weekends. Quieter months may be December, January, February and June.
To avoid the crowds and a possible 1-2 hour waiting time in the queues:
- Arrive early. At least a couple of minutes before the gates open at 9:00 AM.
- Avoid weekends, go mid-week
To avoid a flock of people early morning and late afternoon is the best time. Great to experience the sunrise together with the ruins.
Dry season from December to April to escape the European winter. It's also the busiest season with a visitor peak in December and January. Best month is April, with already fewer crowds in Yucatan and great weather at the same time.
I prefer the dry season from December to April to escape the European winter and to have fewer mosquitos, less humidity and heat. Best month April, already fewer crowds in Yucatan.
Less crowded early morning before busses arrive.
Opening hours are from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Gets crowded before midday.
This place is best to visit in the low season as you are nearly alone then.
Even in the peak season (dry season Dec. to April) not overcrowded due to the remote location.
During the rainy season (May/June until October) only few tourist are heading to this place.
Best months are May and June. September and October higher chance for hurricanes; keep in mind if you stay at the coastal area.
[updated by when to be where]