Koke-Dera (Saiho-ji Temple)


To get permission to enter this famous moss garden (koke-dera), you have to make a reservation several weeks in advance, making it somewhat challenging for visitors. But for anyone interested in Zen practice, it’s worth the extra effort. If you get shut out, visit nearby Jizo temple, which also has a lovely moss garden (no advance reservation is necessary here) and is located just a few minutes south of Koke-dera. The entrance fee to Koke-Dera is Yen 3,000 ($30). To arrive, take the train to Arashiyama Station, then a fifteen-minute taxi ride along the river to Saihoji.

Written by Christiane Deiters

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