Saihoji Temple (Kokedera) – Moss Temple Beloved by Steve Jobs | FAST JAPAN
Saihoji
Kyoto

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera) – Moss Temple Beloved by Steve Jobs

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera) is a Kyoto Unesco World Heritage Site famed for its beautiful moss garden containing around 120 different varieties of moss and has been highly influential in the design of Japanese gardens throughout its history.

The Moss Garden

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)
Photo Credit: tetsukun0105@flickr

Saihoji temple is a Kyoto Unesco World Heritage Site famed for its beautiful moss garden. Perhaps better known by the name Kokedera, which means Moss Temple, the garden contains around 120 different varieties of moss and has been highly influential in the design of Japanese gardens throughout its history. It is well known that Steve Jobs (former CEO of Apple Inc.) had visited this temple with his family very often.

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)
Photo Credit: Akuppa@flickr

Found in the eastern temple grounds, the moss garden forms a circular arrangement around the central Golden Pond. Shaped like the Chinese character for “heart” or “mind”, Golden Pond contains three small islands: Asahi, Yūhi, and Kiri.

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)
Photo Credit: Akuppa@flickr

The best times to visit and walk around the garden is during Kyoto’s rainy season (early June to mid July) when the mosses are especially lush, or during the Autumn when when the leaves turn and the trees are a blaze of reds and golds, providing a stunning contrast to the myriad greens in the carpet of moss.

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)
Photo Credit: cdotwright@flickr

In these eastern temple grounds can also be found the main temple hall, a study and a three-storey pagoda, while the moss garden also contains the three tea houses of Shōnan-tei, Shōan-dō, and Tanhoku-tei, said to have been inspired by phrases from a collection of Zen Buddhist koans known as the Blue Cliff Record.

Saihoji
Photo Credit: Olivier Lejade@flickr.com

In 1339, Zen Buddhist monk, Musō Soseki was already famed as a landscape designer when he was brought in to revive the previous temple on these grounds, and which had fallen into disrepair. It was at this time Musō changed the temple’s name to Saihoji as a mark of its then newly adopted Zen doctrine. However, the mosses for which this beautiful temple is known were not part of Musō’s original design. Following serious flooding in the Edo period, and due to a lack of funds for subsequent renovation, the carpet of white sand Musō had originally laid around the garden’s islands was overtaken by moss, but few would deny that this was a most fortuitous accident, given the temple’s venerated position as both an important historical landmark and a place of great scenic beauty.

 

Making a Reservation

Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)
Photo Credit: Akuppa@flickr

All visitors to the temple are obliged to make a reservation well in advance by mail stating name, the number of people in the group, the name and address of a group representative and the intended date of one’s visit, as well as a self-addressed, stamped return postcard. Such requests should reach the temple at least seven days ahead of the intended visit, but longer notice is recommended where possible. International Reply Coupons can be obtained at post offices around the world for this purpose. Reservations by any other means are not possible.

An admission fee of JPY 3000 per person is charged at the time of the visit and visitors will be asked to participate in some of the temple’s religious observances before being allowed to wander around the garden. Typically, this entails contributing to the observances of kito (祈祷) and shakyo (写経), the chanting and copying of Buddhist texts known as sutra.

Reservation requests should be addressed to: Saihoji Temple, Matsu oJingatani-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan
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Saihoji Temple (Kokedera)

Address: 56 Matsu oJingatani-cho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture

Access: 1 hour from Kyoto Station by bus (#73 or #83) and get off at “Kokedera Suzumushidera” bus stop and 2 minutes walk from there

Hours: 9:00 AM ~ 5:00 PM

Fee: JPY 3,000

Phone: 75-391-3631

Website: Saihoji Temple (Japanese)

 

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. XRumerTest

    July 16, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    Hello. And Bye.

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