The steep sloping lanes running from Kiyomizu Temple are lined with shops all catering to the throngs of tourists. Yet, somehow we don't mind the crowds whenever we make our way here. I always make sure to buy a softserve (green tea flavor is a hit with the locals!) and enjoy looking at the locally made pottery. Kiyomizu pottery is made on the premises of the store, often by the person serving you. It is famous all over Japan.
One tip is to try to avoid coming during October as this is the school sightseeing-trip season! Regardless of the crowds, it's a lovely spot to visit!