top of page

Saihō-ji (Kokedera)

Saihō-ji is a Rinzai branch Zen Buddhist temple nestled along the western mountains of Kyōto to the south of Arashiyama. It was established in the fourteenth century, and is renown for its wet-landscape moss garden. Even before being registered as a UNESCO world heritage in 1994, Saihō-ji has taken an unusual approach to cope with a growing number of travelers. Already in the 1970s, the temple has made visit possible only by prior registration through a post card. In addition, a fee of 3,000 Yen is roughly six-times as much as your usual entrance fee, keeping numbers comparably low. (Recently, in 2021, online registration was made possible too, with the fee for that being 4,000 Yen)
When arriving at the temple, visitors first have to copy a Buddhist Sutra in the main hall, albeit — if I am to believe my friends — the Sutra have been significantly shortened in recent years. After that, one can freely stroll around the temple’s garden. The temple is beautiful, for sure, especially if you value the dozens of types of different moss on the ground. Is it worth 3,000 or 4,000 Yen? That you have to decide by yourself.

Admission: prior registration required, but no guided tour
Nearby places of interest: Jizō-in, Jōjū-ji, Suzumushi-dera

Shinnyodo 2017.jpg

At the Moss Temple.

Summer 夏
Autumn 秋
bottom of page