Saihoji “Moss Garden” Zen Buddhist Temple

Saihoji is a Rinzai Zen Buddhist temple. The temple, which is famed for its moss garden, is commonly referred to as Kokedera, meaning “moss temple”, while the formal name is “Kōinzan Saihō-ji”. The temple, primarily constructed to honor Amitābha, was first founded by Gyōki and was later restored by Musō Soseki. In 1994, Saihō-ji was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”. Over 120 types of moss are present in the two-tiered garden, resembling a beautiful green carpet with many subtle shades.

WARNING: Apparently Saihoji is not free-access and by that I mean you need to reserve at least one week in advance via a postcard system and pay 3000 yen. You will likely need help from a concierge or a Japanese national to get this done. Access is also a bit complicated so please ask help at an information center. It is at about 1 hour of transit from Kyoto Station. Though, really worth the visit and experience. (JP only)