KOKEDARA - MOSS GARDEN

Kokedara, the Japanese word for Moss garden, as it is commonly referred to, is located on the grounds of the Saihō-ji Temple outside Kyoto.  Saihō-ji is a Renzai Zen Buddhist Temple.  According to legend it was first constructed in the Nara Period (AD 710-794). In 1339 after falling into disrepair, it was rebuilt as a Zen Temple and received the name Saihō-ji.

Tourist's are required to attend a Buddhist service prior to entering the garden. During the service visitors are allowed to write and chant sutras (prayers).  The service was lengthy but a lot of fun. The garden itself circles around a pond, which contains three islands. There are three Tea Houses on the grounds as well.  The Garden is amazing, shaded by a canopy of trees, over 120 varieties of moss are found here.  There are bamboo groves found on the edges and Japanese red maples and black pines dispersed throughout the under story. Visitor information is listed at the bottom of this page.

 

 

 

 

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Postal applications only.
Send a stamped, self addressed postcard indicating your name, the number of people in your group, the name and address of your group representative and the date you would like to visit. (The application must reach the temple at least 20 days before the visit).
As of 2009, before being permitted access to the garden, visitors must engage in up to three hours of zazen (zazen is just sitting, "opening the hand of thought"), and hand-copying or chanting of sutras. It is said that these regulations were put into place in order to protect the delicate moss from the hordes of tourists
Your stamped, addressed post card will be returned to you stating the date and arrival time.
Applications should be sent to the temple address:
Saihoji Temple
56 Jingatani-cho, Matsuo
Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-8286,
Japan.