Get the latest info of what is hot in Japan from the local experts.

  • Recommendations from the specialists who know all about Japan.
  • Exclusively selected spots by the Pro's.

西芳寺 Saihoji Temple

  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
  • Arashiyama / Kinkaku-ji Temple Area
Travelko Rating?

  • ClosedInquiry is required

Show Information and Map

Maps are rarely carried out with accessing from mainland China.

Arashiyama / Kinkaku-ji Temple Area
56, Matsuo Jingatanicho, Nishikyo-ku Kyoto-shi, Kyoto 615-8286, Japan
  • Temples / Shrines / Cathedrals
Opening Hours
Reservation is necessary
Inquiry is required
Date of post:2015/04/23

A Buddhist temple famous for its garden covered with beautiful moss One of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto

  • Historic / Cultural Experiences

Popularly known as Moss Temple, this temple has a beautiful garden which is completely covered by around 120 species of beautiful moss. The garden has 2 styles. A stroll-type landscape garden with “心” (shin -- literally means mind) shaped pond in the middle and a dry landscape garden. The total size of the garden is about 30,000m2 (35880yd2). With limited visitors at a time you can enjoy the beautiful garden quietly and your heart will be happy.

The temple was originally built in the 8th century, but after being destroyed by battles it was abandoned for centuries. In 1339, it was restored and converted into a Zen temple by monk Muso Soseki. It was him, who designed this beautiful garden. The Zen temple buildings built by him were also lost during the civil war, but the moss-covered landscape garden remained. The garden was regarded as the earliest and finest example of Japanese stroll-along the pond style garden. This garden style exerted a great influence on later garden designs.

Before entering the garden, there is a ritual to recite the Wisdom Sutras and write your wish on a holy stick in the main hall of the temple. On sliding doors of the hall, pictures were drawn by the modern Japanese artist named Domoto Insho. The holy sticks are burnt later so that your wish will reach Buddha’s place and be granted. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes to finish these rites. Now, put your shoes on and go out in the garden. A person in charge will give you a brief explanation about the garden (in Japanese). But don’t worry, the temple lends you head phones if you like.

Smoking is prohibited in the garden and but there is a smoking area.

In the vicinity of Saihoji temple, there is a so-called bell cricket temple, bamboo temple, a pottery museum, Tsukiyomi shrine and Matsuo shrine. The famous Arashiyama is also in the neighborhood. This is a nice place to spend a day.

To get a permission of this temple, you should ask for the availability of the day of your visit by mail one week to 60 days before. Write your name, address, the hopeful date (you can enter up to 3 different dates) and the number of visitors. The temple will decide the date, time of your visit and reply you. If your trip is organized by a travel agency, they will do this for you.

Entrance Fee: ¥3,000(JPY)

*References: Kokedera home page
Japanese Identities by Yuichiro Edagawa

  • * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
Other Sightseeing Spots of Kyoto

Do you need more information?

Your requests are highly appreciated. Please send your feedback by filling out this form.

  • e.g. I would like to know your recommendation for Seafood restaurants in Santorini.
  • e.g. I would like to have information about the highest bungy spot.
  • e.g. Would need information about a specific city
  • e.g. Information is not correct, not the latest one.