Saiho-ji moss garden

Magical temple gardens with 120 varieties of moss.

Saiho-ji, otherwise known as Koke-dera or the moss temple, is a must-see for garden lovers. Particularly beautiful in rainy months (June and September), the velvety carpet of moss stretching between the trees is a vision of tranquillity. There are thought to be around 120 varieties of moss in the garden, in every shade of green. The temple grounds were created in 1339 by the Zen priest, Muso Kokushi, also a renowned landscape architect. The garden is split into two halves including a classic kokoro heart-shaped pond and a raked gravel landscape area believed to be the first of its kind and providing inspiration for many Japanese gardens.

Entrance to Saiho-ji Temple and its gardens is by appointment only which InsideJapan can arrange for you in advance of your trip. As part of the visit, you'll be invited to take part in temple activities including Buddhist chanting and the copying of sutra scriptures. This meditative experience is designed to enhance the visitor's appreciation of the gardens.

Saiho-ji moss garden

located in Kyoto

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Interested in this Experience? It is included in this tour:

  • Discover Japan's most important monuments on this superior 17-night trip, including the temples of Nikko, Hiroshima's Peace Park, and Himeji Castle.

    World Heritage

    Discover Japan's most important cultural and historical monuments as you visit the temples of Nikko, the Peace Park at Hiroshima, and Himeji Castle, staying in outstanding accommodation - including a thatched farmhouse in Shirakawago and a temple lodging on Mount Koya.

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    Discover Japan's most important monuments on this superior 17-night trip, including the temples of Nikko, Hiroshima's Peace Park, and Himeji Castle.

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