Commonly known as the Moss Temple, or Koke-dera in Japanese, the fee of 3000 yen and the complicated booking procedure keep this cultural jewel blissfully free of tourist crowds.
Saihō-ji is possibly the earliest Zen garden, and, as in many Zen gardens, elements of the landscape are reflective of Buddhist philosophy. One example, a large pond and its landscaped environs, is designed to represent the Western Paradise of Amida.
Arrangements of rock in the garden appear to be the earliest examples of kare-sansui (dry landscape) gardening, and the gardens here were deeply influential on those of the Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji).
In order to visit Kokedera, a postal application must be made at least one week before your visit. Talk to us for more details if you would like to include a visit to the Moss Temple while you’re in Kyoto.