Saihouji Temple / Moss Garden
Updated: Feb 20, 2020
Visit Saihouji Temple or Kokedera (Moss Garden/Moss Temple). The temple was listed on the UNESCO world Heritage list in 1994. It is one of Japan’s finest gardens.
Founded by a priest named Gyoki in the Nara Period, it was refurbished in 1339 by Muso Kokushi/Soseki, a famous landscaper. The garden of the Buddhist Rinzai-shu sect temple is a wonderful mixture of natural beauty and landscaping and is famous for its velvety-green 120 different kinds of moss spread underneath the trees. What is amazing about Saihoji's garden is that it was never planned to be covered in moss. Muso had planned for a garden divided into two parts, one the Chisen Kaiyu (circling pond) while the other was to be a karesansui (dry garden) type.
After the garden was finished the moss naturally grew, with no help from external forces. The fact that this garden's beauty was only half-planned by a man makes it genuinely sublime.