Kiyomizu-dera © Richard Summers
Meaning 'pure water', Kiyomizu-dera is one of Japan's most celebrated temples. Founded in 780, it is associated with Nara Buddhism, the oldest sect in Japan. The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of its main features for tourists are the lovely views from the terrace of the wooded hills of eastern Kyoto. Below the terrace is the spring from which the temple got its name; visitors can sample the water said to have healing powers. Nearby is an interesting three-storey pagoda, and the Otowa Waterfall. Behind the temple is the Shinto Jishu Shrine, dedicated to the god of love. There is lots to see and do in the temple complex, which tends to be bustling with visitors and worshippers, and provides a fascinating cultural and historical experience for foreigners.