Zuikozan Kiyiomizudera was founded by high priest called Sonryu 1429 years ago (AD587), 2 years after the Yomei Emperor was enthroned.
According to a transcript of the temple, the mountain where Zuikozan Kiyiomizudera is located now was a dense and dark forest and valley with old trees. It was a spooky place so no one wanted to get closer to the mountain at that time. Also a stream of light appeared at nightfall and it made people in the village scared.
At such time, Sonryu visited the area during his preaching tour along the Sanin (the region of Shimane and Tottori prefecture) road. He was favored to get into the mountain and find out the source of the light from the god of Tokamiyama (a mountain in the region).
When he reached to the middle of the mountain, an old man appeared in front of him and told him "I have been worshiping the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy in Buddhism) but I must go to the next life soon. So I was looking for someone who will take over the worshiping it." And the old man entrusted a sacred statue to Sonryu.
Then Sonryu made a thatched hut and enshrined the statue. This is the origin of this temple.
However any water could not be obtained in the mountain at that time. After one week of secret praying by Sonryu, water sprang out nearby the hut.
The water didn't get muddy even in the rainy season nor dried up in the dry season and stayed clean constantly.
Because of that, this temple was named Zuikozan (Zuiko means light of good fortune and zan means mountain) as its 'Sango (honorific mountain name prefixed to a temple's name)' because it was where the holly light that led us to meet with Kannon appeared and Kiyomizu-dera (Kiyomizu means clean water and dear means temple) as its temple name.