Saihoji Temple

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Kyoto Saihoji | Moss Temple

Kyoto Saihoji | Moss Temple

Saihoji, more commonly known as Koke-dera (moss temple), is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan. It was founded by Gyoki, a Japanese Buddhist priest of the Nara period to honor Amitabha, a celestial Buddha. When the temple was first built, the moss that Saihoji is known for was not part of the plan. The temple was initially covered in white sand, and moss only formed when the temple was unable to upkeep the garden in its ideal condition. Today the temple is estimated to have approximately 120 kinds of moss.

Visitors wishing to enter the temple must make a reservation in advance. All visitors must pay the entrance fee and then are asked to participate in the observances of kito (reciting Buddhist scriptures) and shakyo (copying Buddhist scriptures). Kito and shakyo may take approximately an hour to complete but monks will guide you through the observances. After these observances are complete, visitors can enjoy a nice stroll in the unique koke-dera.


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