I’m not an early-riser, roommates and family could attest to mood-swings caused if I woke up before 10 am however, habits are easily broken while traveling. I always start the day before 8 am when I’m overseas. I travel for peace and solitude, to think about future plans and to ease my mind after months of being busy with studies as well as work.
By eight or seven in the morning, I was already out exploring Kyoto. There are just so many places to see in Kyoto and morning trips are advantageous if you seek to avoid crowds.
My first stop was Kiyomizu-dera, then I got lost in Ninen-zaka and Sannen-zaka when I tried looking for a café.
Kiyomizu-dera was founded in 778 AD, with a history that spans over 1200 years. One of the prominent features of Kiyomizu is its wooden stage, overhanging the main hall and 13 meters elevated in the hillside. The main hall is built on a steep cliff wherein a network of pillars and rails support the overall structure. Picturesque views greet visitors each season, with beautiful cherry blossoms during spring, or foliage during autumn as well as a backdrop of the city of Kyoto. Kiyomizu’s main hall is dedicated to the Buddhist goddess of compassion.
With this regard, visitors should also be respectful of others who came to the temple to pray.
Just close to the main hall is the Otowa waterfall. The water is separated to three streams from which visitors could get the water from the falls in metal cups and drink it for health, longevity, and success. You should only choose one as drinking from all three streams is considered as greedy and could bring you misfortune.
Of course, all the shops are still closed as it was early in the morning however it made up for a pleasant stroll. Many old wooden houses, shops and restaurants adorn these streets. I returned a day later to visit the traditional tea shop, Kasagiya. I also passed by the Yasaka tower.
City Bus: Take the No.206 bus bound for Kitaoji bus terminal via Higasihama-dori or No.100 bound for Ginkaku-ji via Kiyomizu-dera Gion. Get off at Gojozaka stop and walk east 10 minutes.