Wikipedia writes: Kiyomizu-dera was founded in the early Heian period. The temple was founded in 778 by Sakanoue no Tamuramaro, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.
It was originally affiliated with the old and influential Hossō sect dating from Nara times. However, in 1965 it severed that affiliation, and its present custodians call themselves members of the "Kitahossō" sect.
The main hall has a large veranda, supported by tall pillars, that juts out over the hillside and offers impressive views of the city. Large verandas and main halls were constructed at many popular sites during the Edo period to accommodate large numbers of pilgrims.
The popular expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is the Japanese translation of the English expression "to take the plunge". This refers to an Edo-period tradition that held that if one were to survive a 13-meter (43-foot) jump from the stage, one's wish would be granted. During the Edo period, 234 jumps were recorded, and of those, 85.4% survived. The practice was prohibited in 1872.
Beneath the main hall is the Otowa waterfall, where three channels of water fall into a pond. Visitors can catch and drink the water, which is believed to have wish-granting powers.
The temple complex includes several other shrines, among them the Jishu Shrine, dedicated to Ōkuninushi, a god of love and "good matches". Jishu Shrine possesses a pair of "love stones" placed 10 meters (30 feet) apart, which lonely visitors can try to walk between with their eyes closed. Success in reaching the other stone with their eyes closed implies that the pilgrim will find love, or true love. One can be assisted in the crossing, but this is taken to mean that a go-between will be needed. The person's romantic interest can assist them as well.
The site is particularly popular during festivals (especially at New Year's and during obon in the summer) when additional booths fill the grounds selling traditional holiday foodstuffs and souvenirs to throngs of visitors.
Japan’s geisha are famous the world over, but as they usually perform only at small private gatherings in the teahouses of the geisha districts, it’s not often that visitors from overseas get to see them. Even having deep enough pockets to pay for a private geisha party isn’t good enough – you need an introduction from an existing client in order to gain admittance to the private and exclusive world of the geisha. Fortunately, Kyoto’s geisha communities put on annual public shows, which provide an opportunity for less-privileged ordinary people to see the geisha perform their arts. The most famous of these performances is the Miyako Odori, at which the geisha of the Gion Kobu geisha community perform.
Geiko are women trained in dance and music, with an emphasis on grace, beauty and dignity. (Kyoto geisha prefer to be called ‘geiko’ meaning ‘arts child’, rather than ‘geisha’, which means ‘arts person’.) Geiko communities are very traditional, and are governed by strict rules, and the Gion Kobu community is perhaps the most conservative of all. Geiko begin their careers as apprentices called ‘maiko’, usually aged fifteen. From then on, they move into a geiko house, and dedicate their lives to the geiko world. First they are trained in conduct becoming of a geiko – bowing deeply to show respect to their seniors, and undertaking everyday tasks with grace and elegance. They then move on to training in the geiko’s arts, such as music, dance and calligraphy, and they begin to join the geiko in entertaining clients in Kyoto’s teahouses. Around the age of twenty, maiko graduate from their apprenticeship, and become fully-fledged geiko.