“Saiho-ji Temple” (Moss Temple) is a temple of Rinzai sect in Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto city, an external sub-temples of the Tenryu-ji Temple. It is also designated as a special scenic spot in the country and there is an alias “Koke-dera” (“the Moss Temple”) because the garden covered with moss is so beautiful.
It is said that Saiho-ji Temple was a villa in Prince Shotoku during the Asuka period. Around the time of the early Nara period, a priest named Gyoki changed the villa to the temple. In the Muromachi era, Chikahide Fujiwara, the principal of Matsuotaisha Shrine near Saiho-ji Temple, invited Zen priest Musou Soseki to rebuild the temple. After that, it seems that Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA, the third shogun of the Muromachi shogunate has visited many times. By the way, it is said that the Kinkaku-ji Temple that Yoshimitsu ASHIKAGA built was imitated Saiho-ji Temple.
After that, Saiho-ji Temple often suffered flood damage, but it was rebuilt each time. It was around the end of the Edo period that a stunning garden covered with moss was formed. In the Meiji Era, it was devastated for a while due to the influence of Haibutsu-kishaku (a movement to abolish Buddhism), but it has been revived by people’s efforts and has reached the present. In 1994 it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In order to visit the Saiho-ji Temple, it is necessary to apply in advance. You can not make reservations by phone or e-mail. It is acceptance only with round-trip postcards. It is not always possible to visit on the desired date, so it is a good idea to open the schedule before and after the desired date. Depending on the time it is difficult to make a reservation, but it is worth visiting even if it takes time and effort.
The garden of Saiho-ji Temple, which is also designated as the scenic spot of the country, is the work of Musou Soseki. It consists of Karesansui (dry landscape) garden and the Chisen-kaiyushiki-teien style (a stroke-style garden around a big pond) centered on a pond called “Ogon-chi” (Golden Pond). The garden covered with moss is Chisen-kaiyushiki-teien, and the appearance of about 120 kinds of moss growing is very splendid. Karesansui garden is currently only remained with rock arrangement, but it is said that there is still the remnant of Musou Soseki’s work. It is a good idea to visit Karesansui garden as well as the garden of moss carefully and to think in the days when the temple flourished.
The “Saiho-ji” (Saiho temple) is one of the popular gardens in Kyoto of its beautiful site covered by moss. Advance reservations are necessary for a visit, and an admission fee is set slightly rather high. There is no end to the number of people who worship at this temple. It was designated in a world heritage as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto”, furthermore, it was chosen by Michelin green guide as the three star.
“Saiho-ji Temple” is an official name, but is said to be “Koke-dera” (“the Moss Temple”) generally. Approximately 120 kinds of moss covers the precincts, it came to be called “the Moss Temple” since the beauty like a green carpet being spreaded.
This is a temple of the Rinzai sect in Kyoto-shi. It is said that the foundation is in the Tenpyo era (729 through 749) which is the height of prosperity of the Nara era, it was opened by Gyoki known as a person in charge of the construction of “the great statue of Buddha” of “Todai-ji Temple” in Nara.
You can enjoy the carpet of the beautiful moss anytime through the year, but it is said that the rainy season is the most beautiful. When it rains, moss grows up well, and the scene which moss has a rainy drop, and shines is beautiful.
Saiho-ji Temple is also famous for Steve Jobs (deceased) of former CEO of Apple came incognito.
|Adresse:||56 Jingatani-cho Matsuo Nishikyo-ku Kyoto City 615-8286 Japan|
|Access:||Hankyu Dentetsu Arashiyama-sen Line “Matsuo-Taisha-eki Station” (8 minutes by bus)|
|Price/Charge:||Entrance fee: ¥3,000 or more
Please refer the official web page.